Calm now reigns in the village of al-Sharqiya in the Minya region of Upper Egypt, after an evening of sectarian violence yesterday, Saturday 3 August
Calm now reigns in the village of al-Sharqiya in the Minya region of Upper Egypt, after an evening of sectarian violence yesterday, Saturday 3 August.
The violence erupted in the wake of a fight between two men in a coffee shop when one of them, an Islamist, browsed off a TV channel which was airing a song that praised the Egyptian army. The argument which ensued between the Islamist Mursi supporters and the anti-Mursi non-Islamists at the coffee shop escalated into a fight which quickly gathered sectarian overtones. Since it is no secret that Copts are against Islamist rule, and given that the coffee shop owner is a Copt, the Islamists attacked the place and left it in ruins.
A mob of Muslim villagers quickly gathered and waged a violent attack against the Copts in the village, going on a rampage against Coptic-owned property. They attacked with stones, clubs and sticks, Molotov cocktails, and gunfire. Some Copts retaliated with stones and Molotovs, but most kept to their homes in terror, and called the police. Dozens of young Copts rushed to the village church of the Holy Virgin to defend it against any possible break-in by the Islamists .
The police arrived, used tear gas to disperse the mob, and surrounded the village.
Fifteen persons were injured, among them a police officer and three army recruits. Seven houses were burnt, five cars damaged, and a coffeeshop, two shops and a pharmacy were ruined; all owned by Copts. Four mobsters were caught
A police source told “Watani” that the police confronted a mob from the neighbouring village of Beni-Ahmed al-Gharbiya and stopped them from accessing Beni-Ahmed al-Sharqiya to join the Islamists mobbing there.
The Islamsits, however, circulated a rumour in another village in the vicinity, Reeda, to the effect that the Copts in Beni-Ahmed al-Sharqiya had burnt a mosque there. Directly, the Muslim Reeda villagers attacked the Protestant church in the village. They ruined its façade but failed to break into it. They pelted the houses of Copts with stones, and terrorised the Copts by firing shots in the air.
4 August 2013
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