Posted at 11:45 AM ET, 10/10/2011

Copts at center of deadliest clashes in Egypt since protests began (videos)

In the deadliest clashes Egypt has seen since the popular revolt that overthrew President Hosni Mubarak in February, at least 23 people were killed and nearly 200 wounded in downtown Cairo on Sunday night, The Post’s Ernesto Londoño and Leila Fadel report.

Coptic Egyptian demonstrators, one carrying a wooden cross, set on fire an army vehicle during cashes with Egyptian soldiers following a demonstration Sunday in Cairo. (Nasser Nasser - AP)
It was also the first time, according to activists and human rights workers, that the post-Mubarak military appeared to have opened fire on protesters. Some people were mowed down by police personnel carriers that drove into the crowd, while other security forces used tear gas or batons.

The violence began after Coptic Christians began marching from the suburb of Shubra to demand an end to discrimination and were reportedly attacked with stones by men in civilian clothes.

See a map, via social media news curator Storyful, that shows the location of the two clashes in Cairo with a red indicator, and the suburb of Shubra with a blue one:

View Clashes in Cairo in a larger map

Londoño and Fadel report that Sunday’s violence was the “clearest signal yet” that Egyptians are turning on the military commanders who have failed to implement reform after Mubarak’s ouster, and could even give rise to a new revolt.

In response to the clashes, conservative commentator Michelle Malkin wrote a post entitled “Arab Fall, Arab Fail.” TIME Magazine wrote that the violence showed the “Egyptian Junta's true colors.” CBS declared that the Arab Spring had “cooled.”

Meanwhile, state television blamed the violence on protesters.

Watch footage from the clashes:

By  |  11:45 AM ET, 10/10/2011

Tags:  World, Egypt, Coptic Christians

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