Union of Maspero Youth gives Egypt's cabinet till 8 July to fulfil Coptic demands
Ahram Online, Friday 10 Jun 2011
Should their demands go unmet by the new deadline, Coptic protesters vow they will resume their sit-in in Maspero


The Union of Maspero Youth has set a new deadline for the cabinet of 8 July to meet their demands, saying that otherwise they will re-stage their sit-in near the state radio and television building.

Thousands of Copts held a sit-in that lasted for nearly two weeks in downtown Cairo after two churches were attacked and set ablaze in the neglected Giza neighbourhood of Imbaba, an incident that left 12 dead and increased sectarian tension in the country.

The protesting Christians went home on 21 May after being relatively appeased by the authorities’ promise to meet some of their demands and ordering the opening of three churches, including one in Ain Shams.

A statement released by the Union of Maspero Youth read: “Out of our belief that we represent an integral part of this great nation... we decided to suspend our sit-in until July 8.”

“We are not standing against the interest of the country, but we always contribute and dedicatedly work to achieve whatever results in the prosperity and safety of this nation.”

Activist Ramy Kamel told a press conference on Friday that “the decision to keep our sit-in on hold for a while longer was made to give the cabinet the chance to fulfil all the Coptic demands as agreed.

“Most of the demands haven’t been realised but we will give the cabinet another chance to do so.”

The country's ruling military council, under pressure to end sectarian tensions, has ordered new laws that criminalise sectarian violence and ease restrictions on building churches be drafted.

The cabinet also ordered the renovation churches damaged by violence and re-open a number of churches that were closed in the past by authorities without explanation.

Moreover, interim Prime Minister Essam Sharaf vowed that a unified law for building houses of worship will be soon enacted.

Among other demands, the Union of Maspero Youth calls for the punishment of those involved in all sectarian crimes against Christians in Egypt over the past few years.

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