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Vigil held in Cairo to mark third anniversary of those killed at Maspero

28 people, mostly Coptic Christians, were killed when security forces and the army attacked protesters in the Maspero district of Cairo
A woman holds a photo showing the faces of those killed at the Maspero protest on 9 October 2011 (AFP)

Dozens of people gathered together in Cairo on Thursday to mark the third anniversary of the killings at Maspero. Nearly 30 Egyptians, mostly Coptic Christians, were killed and almost 300 injured on 9 October 2011 when the army and security forces attacked people protesting the demolition of a church in Upper Egypt.

The governor of Aswan Mustafa Kamel el-Sayyed said the church had been demolished as it was built without a license, which prompted protests led by Christians angry at the decision. The protest in Cairo came about after Coptic leaders rejected Salafist demands that Christians should remove public symbols of their religion including church crosses.

Eyewitnesses estimated 10,000 people took part in the protest that saw demonstrators march from the Shubra district in Cairo towards Maspiro to hold a sit-in at the television building. Raw video footage from the evening showed soldiers firing on protesters and armoured personnel carriers running people over.

28 people were killed in what was the bloodiest day in Egypt since the January revolution that ousted Hosni Mubarak some eight months earlier.

A vigil was held in Cairo on Thursday to remember those killed three years ago and Twitter users shared their thoughts using the #Maspiro hashtag.

Writing for the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy Amr Khalifa condemned the fact nobody has faced prosecution for the killings and said sectarian issues continue to plague Egypt.

“The images that emerged from the now infamous Maspiro massacre are etched in the psyche of modern Egypt,” he wrote. “Yet, three years later, the plight of Egypt’s approximately 15 million Coptic Christians has arguably worsened.”

“In fact, while the previous Islamist regime was correctly criticised for its highly sectarian narrative, the current regime is equally guilty, despite its secular veneer.”

On Thursday the now deposed and banned Muslim Brotherhood shared their condolences for those who died in Maspiro.

Twitter users responded to their comment with scorn, accusing them of having taken a very different stance at the time of the incident.

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