12/07/2010, 00.00
EGYPT

Copts protest in Cairo demanding justice for the killed and freedom for the arrested

A demonstration is underway after clashes left four unarmed protesters dead during a demonstration over a denied building permit for a church near the pyramids. Copts call for the resignation and prosecution of Giza’s governor and the security chief.

Cairo (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Dozens of Christians and Muslims protested in front of the Egyptian Supreme Court in Cairo last Saturday demanding the release of demonstrators jailed for their participation in protests held at Talbiya on 24 November. They want to draw the court’s attention to the fact that police used live ammunition during the protest, killing four Copts and wounding an additional 120.

The demonstrators want all those in jail to be released, including children and minors. They also call for the resignation and prosecution of Giza’s governor and chief of state security “who gave orders to open fire on the unarmed Coptic protesters," said Dr. Naguib Ghobrial, head of the Egyptian Union for Human Rights Organization, who organised the rally.

The protesters held photos of those who died and those who were arrested in the demonstrations. They also held banners and chanted slogans against the governor, who is viewed by many as being responsible for the incident. Less than 24 hours before sending security forces to storm the church, he had told the Church congregation that he had changed the permit and congratulated them on the new church, thus provoking their anger (See “Islamists lay siege to Coptic church near pyramids,” in AsiaNews 24 November 2010)

In the latest protest, demonstrators held various banners. One read, “It is easier to get a permit for a nightclub than a church in Egypt”.

Since 24 November, a showdown is underway between the Coptic Church and Giza authorities.

Copts and Egyptian security forces are facing off daily in front of Saints Mary and Michael Church in Talbiya, near the pyramids at Giza. Police want to prevent the completion of the church radical Muslims do not want.

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