(CAIRO) -- Reverberations from a deadly crackdown on a massive demonstration were being felt in Egypt Monday as Coptic Christians said the ruling military council did little to stop agitators from turning the rally into sectarian warfare.
At least 26 people died and more than 200 were injured when the protest in Cairo against the torching of a Coptic Church descended into chaos as plain-clothes men began attacking Christian demonstrators.
From that point, the army moved in and the scene turned into one of gunfire and tanks mowing over demonstrators.
The Coptic Christians, who represent 10 percent of Egypt's population, fear they will increasingly become targets if radical Islamists gain control of the country, which is in the midst of a power vacuum since the resignation last winter of President Hosni Mubarak.
As a further sign of distrust, the families of 17 Copts who died Sunday have forbidden the government to conduct autopsies for fear that the results will be skewed to hide any responsibility the army might have for their deaths.
It was the most violent episode since demonstrations last February took down Mubarak's government.
In Washington, the White House issued a statement, saying, "Now is a time for restraint on all sides so that Egyptians can move forward together to forge a strong and united Egypt."
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