Coptic Christians in West L.A. protest killings in Egypt
Hundreds of Coptic Christians gathered in West Los Angeles this afternoon to protest violence that erupted in Egypt between Muslims and Christians over the Coptic Christmas holiday earlier this week. LAPD officers estimated the crowd grew to about 1,000 people.
Protesters expressed anger about suspected Muslim gunmen who shot six Coptic Christians in the town of Nag Hamadi as they left midnight Mass on Thursday, the holiest day of the Coptic calendar.
Egyptian officials said the attack, which sparked riots by both Muslims and Christians, was in apparent retaliation for an alleged rape of a Muslim girl by a Coptic man last year.
“There is no protection for Christians in Egypt,” said a man who attended the protest, who declined to be named because he feared retaliation. “The Egyptian government isn’t doing anything for them. It’s happened too many times before and it will keep happening again and again.”
Christians, mostly Orthodox Copts, account for about 10% of Egypt’s predominantly Muslim population.
The protests appeared to be spontaneous, said LAPD Officer Karen Rayner. The demonstration was peaceful, and no one was arrested, she said.