A protest by Egypt's Coptic Christians in Cairo turned deadly when violence claimed the lives of at least 25. Several thousand members of the Coptic Church, who make up about ten percent of Egypt’s population, were marching to protest the failure by the military government to prevent attacks on their churches.
The United States is deeply concerned about the violence perpetrated against demonstrators in Egypt. "Now, is a time for restraint on all sides," said White House spokesman Jay Carney in a written statement, "so that Egyptians can move forward together to forge a strong and united Egypt."
The United States believes that the rights of all Egyptians must be respected, and that all people have the universal rights of peaceful protest and religious freedom. The United States supports the Egyptian Cabinet’s decision to launch a transparent and credible investigation into the violence and stresses the importance of the investigation beginning immediately and holding accountable all responsible parties with full due process of law.
To further protect religious freedom, we also support the Egyptian government’s decision to consider a Unified Places of Worship Law governing church construction and an anti-discrimination law in the coming weeks.
The recent bloodshed makes it even more critical that Egypt proceed with holding elections on November 28. The best way to ensure respect for minority rights among other fundamental freedoms in Egypt is through a timely transition to democracy.
The United States is hopeful that anyone who runs for election in Egypt, and who's elected to the parliament, will support a political system that respects the universal rights of all Egyptians no matter who they might be. The United States is open to working with any Egyptian government that has representatives who are committed to non-violence, human rights, and democracy.