Australia's Egyptian community remains in shock as the death toll from recent violent clashes in Egypt continues to climb, with 556 reported dead and thousands more injured by the end of last week, reports the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney.
"We who stand for 80,000 Christian Egyptians in Australia are deeply saddened by events and the tragic loss of life in Egypt on Wednesday. No matter the difference in our political or religious stance, it is unacceptable to see such bloodshed and the destruction of public buildings and churches throughout Egypt," the leaders of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Australia, Bishop Anba Suriel and Bishop Daniel said in a joint statement on Friday.
Egypt is under a state of emergency and facing a humanitarian disaster with security forces firing on protesters supporting deposed president Mohamed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Heavily armed police have opened fire on men, women and children in Cairo and regional centres.
Morsi's short time in power was marred by continuing unrest and deadly street clashes as well as economic turmoil. Millions took to the streets at the end of June calling for his removal. This was accomplished with a military coup in early July.
The interim military government then ordered a crackdown on demonstrators which has seen tear gas bombings and widespread sniper fire. The Muslim Brotherhood retaliated by urging Egyptians to take to the streets to denounce "the massacre". As a result nearly 50 Christian churches were destroyed along with monasteries, schools and hospitals.
Australian Foreign Affairs has said all Australians should leave Egypt as soon as possible and have also declared the trouble-torn country a no-go zone for visitors.