Mr. SIRES. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to condemn the violence in Egypt. Months after Muslims and Christians fought for democracy, religious violence continues to plague the country. Worse yet, in post-revolution Egypt, violence against Coptic Christians is rising.
This weekend, over two dozen people were killed in Cairo, most of them Coptic Christians. Demonstrators had gathered to protest the attack on a Coptic church and other Christian-owned properties. In response, military officials aggressively confronted protesters by driving vehicles into crowds and shooting off rounds of live ammunition. In the end, 26 people were dead and hundreds were wounded.
This brutal crackdown puts into great question the ability of the military government to bring democracy to Egypt and protect its minority Coptic population. These military attacks are unacceptable, and the resulting deaths are absolutely appalling.
The Coptic Christians simply want respect for their churches, their homes, and their basic rights. Democracy cannot thrive in Egypt if the rights of Coptic Christians are not respected.
The United States must do everything it can to pressure military leaders to end the violence, punish those responsible, and uphold the equal rights of all Egyptian citizens.