The Nag Hammadi sectarian crime which took place on Coptic Christmas Eve, 6 January, and which left six Copts dead and nine wounded, triggered wide protest and rallies by Copts in places as wide apart as Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Rome, Vienna, Athens and Sydney. Mary Joseph sent Watani live coverage on the Sydney rally which was held earlier this month. WATANI International 31 January 2010
Hundreds of Coptic Christians shared in a peaceful rally on 19 January in Sydney protesting against the recent attacks in Nag Hammadi that left six dead and many injured. Hoping for a decisive action from the Egyptian government against the killers, the assembly walked through Macquarie Street and on to the Australian Parliament. “We expect the Australian government as represented by the Prime Minister or the Department of Foreign Affairs to raise their concerns with their counterparts in Egypt” Peter Tadros, one of the rally organisers said.
A tall cross preceded the marching assembly, and later another cross followed carried by deacons and followed by Coptic priests, Australian dignitaries and political figures.
Marching behind the leaders of the church and also leading the assembly were youth wearing black outfits and red armbands with black crosses on them expressing their sadness over the murdered Copts in Nag Hammadi. Following them were young men carrying six black coffin replicas with striking blood full pictures of the deceased at the time of their deaths stuck on the coffins.
Ushers, wearing yellow armbands with crosses on them, split the marchers into separate groups in order to organise the march and allow all banners to show.
Jack Farrag, an usher and also holder of the cross preceding the assembly said, “We are all protesting against the latest events where people were killed. We are very sad by these attacks and we all stand in solidarity for our persecuted brothers and sisters.”
Not only were youth marching but many elderly and children as young as seven years old shared in the march carrying crosses and banners.
The Honourable David Clarke member of the Legislative Council, who attended the rally, said, “We are hopeful that the Egyptian authorities will make greater efforts to bring to justice those committing crimes against the Coptic community because of their religion. We would like to see an end to all this discrimination.”
The Coptic assembly was also joined by members of other churches showing support for the Coptic cause.
“We ourselves are one body in Christ despite our differences and it is just an expression of love we hope to have sharing in Christ together and the sorrow that we also feel together,” the Reverend Dr. Jonathan Inkpin, General Secretary of the NSW Ecumenical Council said. The Reverend Tara Curlewis, General Secretary of the National Council of Australia also joined the march.
Different national and Egyptian media outlets covered the rally including the Egyptian expat radio station The Voice of the Arab Community led by Kamahl Ibram.
The march began with singing the Coptic hymn “My Coptic Church” then walked quietly while the head of the march recited incidents of persecution against Copts in Egypt.