Egypt's Military Blames Christians for Violence

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Egypt's military rulers denied shooting Christian protesters but blamed the protestors and "enemies of the revolution" for starting the violence that left 26 dead over the weekend, almost all of them Christians.

During a news conference to give their version of Sunday's events, the generals from the Supreme Council of Armed Forces said the protesters were savagely attacking military personnel.

Maj. Gen. Adel Emara, a member of the ruling council and deputy defense minister, tried to clear the military of any blame in the killings.

"A minority of protesters were peaceful, but a more violent, armed crowd joined the demonstration and began attacking a unit of about 300 soldiers, armed only with anti-riot gear," Emara said.

Click play for John Waage's updated report, followed by analysis from CBN News International Correspondent Gary Lane.

"I want to bring to your attention that the protesters outside Maspero had many strange things with them: swords, gas cylinders, firebombs," he said.

"This was an indication that this was not a peaceful protest," he pointed out.

However, video evidence from the scene as well as first-hand accounts show otherwise. The videos show Christian protesters peacefully demonstrating until police began charging them.

Many of those who were killed in the melee were crushed by military vehicles. Other victims had gunshot wounds.

Khaled Abdel-Hamid, a member of the Revolution Youth Coalition, reacted to the military's account.

"Frankly, the council is belittling people's intelligence," Abdel-Hamid said.

"These are blatant lies. The witnesses and the video clips prove that there was monstrous suppression by the army of a peaceful protest," he added. "So a soldier is given an excuse for killings, while civilians are to blame."

The clashes outside the state television building were the worst between the military and protesters in the eight months since Egypt's uprising.

Coptic Christians who make up about 10 percent of Egypt's 85 million in population say they are treated like second-class citizens and attacks on them continue to go unpunished.

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