Thousands of Australian Coptic Christians and sympathisers from the Australian Public attended a protest on Saturday 21st May 2011 against the ongoing violent attacks against Coptic Christians in Egypt that have escalated dramatically in the last few months resulting in scores of deaths, hundreds injured, destruction of property and abduction, forcible conversion and rape of young Coptic girls and women.The organizers compromising several Sydney based Coptic Associations had planned a sit-in, in front of the Egyptian Consulate in Surry Hills, but on Police advice moved it away from the narrow precincts to the larger Martin Place amphitheatre. People with a purpose soon filled the square from wall to wall.
They were assured by such politicians as Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, on behalf of the Hon. Tony Abbott MP, Mr Scott Morrison MP, the Hon. Greg Donnelly MLC, the Hon. David Clarke MLC, the Hon. Marie Ficarra MLC, Mr Craig Kelly MP and Mr Peter Madden of the CDP (Christian Democratic Party) that their voices had been heard and their cause will be supported by such leaders of government. All politicians in attendance vowed to raise the Coptic predicament further and request further action from the Australian Federal Government.
Speeches by dignitaries and Coptic activists highlighted their concern at the way Copts were persecuted in Egypt, whilst onlookers who were previously oblivious to the atrocities were informed of the injustices faced by the indigenous people of Egypt. Politicians who felt the anger encouraged the protestors to raise their voices, in heartfelt chants, such as “Enough is enough”!
The protestors were clearly frustrated and angered at events in Egypt and emotions were running high as world leaders came under criticism for ignoring the Coptic predicament for the last 40 years and continuing to do so post the Egyptian Revolution.
The plight of Coptic Christians is an issue of the gross violation of basic human rights. These events are wrongfully labelled as “sectarian strife” or “ communal tensions” as if to portray a picture of petty arguments along sectarian/religious issues. It is high time that Australia as a nation, prefaces its dealings with Egypt, (and the broader Middle East) with Egypt’s human rights track record a paramount consideration.