10/9/11 --- CAIRO (AP) — Fierce clashes erupted Sunday between Christians protesting a recent attack on a church and the Egyptian military, leaving at least 19 people dead and more than 150 injured, Health Ministry officials said.
In rioting outside the state television building along the Nile in Cairo, witnesses saidsome of the protesters may have snatched weapons from the soldiers and turned them on the military. The protesters also pelted the soldiers with rocks and bottles.
Coptic Egyptian demonstrators, one carrying a wooden Christian cross, set on fire an army vehicle during cashes with Egyptian army soldiers following a demonstration in Cairo, Egypt Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011. Egyptian state television reports at least one soldier has been killed in riots that erupted in Cairo as Christians protesting a recent attack on a church came under attack.
The clashes spread to nearby Tahrir Square and the area around it, drawing in thousands of people. They battled each other with rocks and firebombs, some tearing up pavement for ammunition and others collecting stones in boxes. At one point, a group of youths with at least one riot policeman among them dragged a protester by his legs for a long distance.
The Christian protesters said their demonstration began as a peaceful attempt to sit in at the television building. But then, they said they came under attack by thugs in plainclothes who rained stones down on them and fired pellets.