Sectarian Clashes Escalates in Egypt

Clashes between Coptic Christians military police in Egypt left at least 24 people dead and 213 injured in Cairo on Sunday prompting the cabinet to call for an emergency meeting for Monday to undertake necessary measures to insure the violence does not disrupt the upcoming elections.

Christians who were protesting against an earlier attack on a church set cars on fire, burned army vehicles and threw rocks at military police who they blamed for using heavy-handed tactics against them. It was some of the worst violence since the February uprising that saw the ouster of former president Husni Mubarak.

The clashes also added to growing frustration among activists with the army who many Egyptian believes they fail to handle the protest.

In a televised speech, Prime Minister Essam Sharaf called the clashes 'unjustifiable’ adding that they could threaten the establishment of a new democracy.

Essam Sharaf said,"We have witnessed unjustifiable, violent events whose victims were a number of noble Egyptian people, both civilians and military personnel.

"Instead of advancing to build a modern state of democratic principles, we are back searching for security and stability, worrying that there are hidden hands, both domestic and foreign, seeking to obstruct the will of Egyptians in establishing a democracy."

The violence casts a shadow over the forthcoming parliamentary election. Voting starts on on Nov. 28 with candidates due to begin registering during the week starting on Wednesday.

Egypt Prime Minister Essam Sharaf

Mourad Kricha

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