By Reem Abdellatif
CAIRO: Three soldiers were killed and at least 30 injured Sunday in violent clashes between protesters and army forces after a march from Shoubra to Maspero was met with violence, Egyptian state TV reported.
Eyewitnesses also reported several possible fatalities and tens of injuries among protesters. Tear gas was reportedly heavily used, causing some protesters to faint.
“I saw people squashed, being carried away in bloody blankets. Families and children screaming. Tear gas and people shot with live ammo bleeding,” a Daily News Egypt reporter on the scene said.
A march of around 200 that started in Shoubra Sunday was met with violence, preventing it from joining a demonstration in front of Maspero against a church attack in Aswan late last month.
Protesters said that military police fired live rounds and drove through the march with armored vehicles, reporting several injuries. Protesters also set fire to armored vehicles.
Violence was ongoing on the Corniche road in front of Maspero, which was closed off to traffic, at time of press as well as sporadic violence on the Sixth of October Bridge.
Some eyewitnesses said protesters were heading to Tahrir Square calling for a sit-in, chanting against the ruling military council.
Protests were reportedly being organized in other governorates including Alexandria.
“People in army uniforms were shooting live rounds at us like we were flies, some people were able to run and others hid inside buildings,” Mariam Tawfik, a protester, told Daily News Egypt.
Tawfik said she saw a guy get shot in front of her, and tried to pull him aside to help.
Protesters also said that earlier the march was attacked by rocks on its way to Maspero, but it was not clear who was behind the attack.
Around 300 Muslim and Coptic protesters were gathered at Maspero, holding candles, chanting and calling for unity.
Omar Tarek, an activist and journalist, told DNE that the Coptic cause is the same as the Muslim cause.
“You can’t demolish a house of worship,” he said, “if someone told me they would demolish a mosque I would react the same way … I am here as an Egyptian, supporting an Egyptian cause.”
Abdel Tawab Hassan, an activist, said he holds the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces responsible for the church attack in Aswan, explaining that it wants to show that there is strife between Egyptians so it can continue tightening its grip and officially enact common laws.
Sarah Nader, a young Coptic protester, told DNE, “We are here today to mourn what happened [in Aswan], we don’t want people to hate us we are Egyptian like everyone else, there is no difference between us and Muslims … We are here calling for peace.”