In the most violence seen since the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak, protests swept through Cairo, Egypt, over the weekend, leaving 24 dead and more than 200 people wounded. The demonstrations were in response to growing anger toward the ruling military council, which has delayed the transition of power several times since Mubarak was deposed, The New York Times reports.
The violence started as a peaceful protest when Christians turned out to protest a recent attack on a church. However, it quickly escalated when the army attempted to quell the protests, and reports differ over whether the city's Muslim population leaped to the aid of the protesters or the soldiers beating them back.
The demonstrations mark the biggest test for Egypt since Mubarak was overthrown in February and signals the growing tensions between the majority Muslim population and the small subset of Coptic Christians that reside in Egypt. Still, some protesters say it is not a religious issue at the crux of their protests but simply a democratic one.
"Until when are we going to live in this terror?" asked a Christian demonstrator asked, according to the Times. "This is not the issue of Muslim and Christian, this is the issue of the freedom that we demanded and can't find."
The violence comes just before Egypt is preparing for its first parliamentary poll in the wake of the ousting of Mubarak. Voting beings on November 28, though Reuters reports that the ruling military has not yet announced a date for a new presidential election. There are a number of hurdles to cross including drawing up a new constitution and assembling parliament, so Egypt may not have a new president until 2013.