Egypt State TV has admitted to making up news as Coptic Christians protested Sunday. The false report stated that Christians had attacked and killed military personnel trying to keep order; however, those reports have proved to be false. The falsified reports are now thought to have directly attributed to the violent outbreaks and brutal crackdown by military officials and Muslim hardliners against protesting Christians.
Egyptian State TV has now come under attack from rights activists for the false reports, which stated that there had been deaths among military forces during the early scuffles of the protest caused by protesting Copts, according to Egyptian publication Bikyamasr.
The lies stated that Coptic protesters attacked the military forces with weapons and had caused the death of three soldiers.
After the report was released scores of local Muslims spilled onto the streets and attacked protesters. The result saw extensive violence break out, with military vehicles being driven through protesters, and 26 people being killed and more than 200 injured. The violence has been called the worst sectarian violence since the fall of President Hosni Muabrak’s regime.
Maspiro, the State TV, had also reported that the protesters were armed and had instigated the violence against the soldiers. It is believed these reports directly contributed to the bloodshed late on Sunday.
The protesters were marching and calling for justice for the Marinab Church in Aswan, which was attacked on Sept. 30 allegedly by Muslim citizens who claimed the church did not have the license for the construction of a dome.
As protesters reached the state television building, gunfire by troops began. Soldiers also stormed into the office of a private television channel, Channel 25 and demanded to see the ID cards of journalists to identify Christians.
According to Daily, soldiers assaulted some journalists, including a pregnant woman. The channel was forced to stop the live broadcasting of the violence taking place.
Videos posted online show armored vehicles running over people, killing and injuring many of them. Numerous eyewitness reports have claimed that Copts were “not armed” and that the army was “not provoked to attack.”
On Sunday night, the Coptic Church in Egypt called on believers to fast and pray for three days starting from Tuesday to mourn the Christians killed in the clashes with Muslims and security forces.