Inaction by Authorities Leads to Violence in Egypt

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Egyptian protesters cheer as they enter the grounds of the St Mark's Cathedral in Abasseyya during clashes with Egyptian riot police on April 7, 2013 in Cairo, Egypt (Photo Credit: Ed Giles/Getty Images).

Egyptian protesters cheer as they enter the grounds of the St Mark’s Cathedral in Abasseyya during clashes with Egyptian riot police on April 7, 2013 in Cairo, Egypt (Photo Credit: Ed Giles/Getty Images).

By Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International’s Egypt researcher

On Sunday I attended the Cairo funeral of four Coptic Christians killed on Friday night in Khousous, a small town north of the city.

I had been planning to travel to Khousous to find out more about the sectarian violence which led to the deaths there. Instead, I found myself caught up in more violence at the funeral itself – with mourners on one side, and unknown assailants and, later, security forces on the other.

Before the clashes erupted, feelings of grief, anger and injustice were palpable inside Saint Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo, which was filled with mourners. Tears, prayers and wailing were drowned out by chants against the government and the Muslim Brotherhood, and vows to avenge the dead.

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Division, Distrust and Despair – Egypt Votes On a New Constitution

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Egyptian polling place

Egyptians line up outside a polling station in Mahalla on 15 December to vote in the referendum on a new Constitution. © Amnesty International

By Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International’s North Africa Researcher

Arriving in Cairo a few days before the constitutional referendum held on Saturday, 15 December, I couldn’t remember a more bitterly divided and polarized Egypt.

During my last visit to the country as part of an Amnesty International delegation to document human rights violations committed during the 18 days of the “25 January Revolution”, there was a palpable sense of unity among protesters despite the suffering and violence.

Egyptians from all walks of life – women and men, Christians and Muslims, young and old, liberal and Islamist, affluent and poor – stood together against the government and its tactics to crush the uprising. They put aside their political, religious and ideological differences to fight for a common cause, and they were successful.

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Army Out of the Barracks, Back On the Streets

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The following post is from Amnesty researchers who are currently in Egypt monitoring and documenting the situation there.

Protestors on a tank in Cairo, Egypt

Protestors on a tank in Cairo ©Amnesty International

President Mohamed Morsi decision to give the army new policing powers has raised new concerns about Egypt’s future, raked up painful memories of the past.

In protests around the Presidential Palace on Friday, we saw tanks and armoured vehicles belonging to the Presidential Guard parked in the streets.

Protesters were climbing on them and taking pictures. A few fearless parents even let their children climb on them, posing with the soldiers.

The scenes were eerily reminiscent of the days after the “25 January Revolution,” when many welcomed the army on the streets after the 18 days of mass protests that ended the rule of Hosni Mubarak.

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