Some 30 Egypt Coptic Christian families on Saturday filed a lawsuit against the former Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) chief Hussein Tantawi and other top officials for their role in the October 9, 2011 massacre of Coptic Christians by the armed forces at the state television and radio building in downtown Cairo, or Maspero.
Besides Tantawi, former Chief of Staff Sami Anan, former head of Military Police Hamdi Badeen and current head of Military Police Ibrahim el-Damati have been accused of killing Christians almost one-year ago exactly.
At least 27 civilians, mainly Christians, were killed by the military-instigated violence. Egypt’s military claims that one soldier was also killed in the violence, but have not given any evidence on the matter.
Known locally as the “Maspero Massacre,” on October 9 in the early evening a march of mostly Coptic Christians calling for their rights arrived at the state TV building and soon after police and military forces guarding the building used violence against the protesters thinking they planned to break into the building, which looks like a fortress with meters of barb wire, cameras and guards.
The armed forces opened fire and ran over protesters with armored vehicles in the bloody violence.
The Copts were protesting the burning of Church a week earlier in Aswan and demanded the removal of the governor.
The Maspero events left a scare in the national psyche as tens of residents responded to the military after it claimed it was under attack and created street clashes that left more dead and injured.
There are numerous videos of the incident and eyewitness testimonies over the incident, but a military-led investigation into the events saw no charges of wrongdoing leveled against any officers.
The military used the often deployed “invisible hand” argument in claiming the soldiers in front of the Maspero building were unarmed.
The statements and investigation from SCAF left many Christians and other activists angered, with many telling Bikyamasr.com in the weeks that followed last year that it was a “conspiracy” to stoke sectarian tension
Many activists were accused of promoting violence and stealing weapons in the aftermath of the massacre, which turned downtown Cairo into a war-zone on that night.
The families argued that almost a full year has passed and no officer has been held accountable for the carnage and deaths of their family members.