A crowd of hundreds gathered in front of St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in the Abbasiya district in Cairo on Dec. 11, chanting “Ya Rab,” a plea to God for help. Earlier in the day, the church had been bombed, killing 26 and injuring more than 40 people. The demonstration was met by the security forces’ attempt to disperse it. Chants of "the police are thugs” changed to the revolutionary “the people want the downfall of the regime.”
Protests have become a rare sight in stick-governed Egypt, a sharp contradiction to the two years that followed the revolution of Jan. 25, 2011. Since its passing in November 2013, the controversial Protest Law granted police the right to ban or postpone a protest if it is deemed a “threat to security and peace,” as well as provisions punishing violators with prison terms of at least one year and a minimum fine of 50,000 Egyptian pounds ($2,750).