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Army uses force to disperse Copts protesting attacks on churches

Angry over church burning Friday, hundreds of Copts take to Cairo streets Tuesday night to protest and demand equality, but army violently disperses them

MENA, Sarah Raslan, Wednesday 5 Oct 2011
Egyptian Copts
Egyptian Copts, some holding Christian crosses, demonstrate against the sectarian violence (Photo: Mai Shaheen)
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Military and police squads used force late Tuesday night to disperse hundreds of angry Coptic demonstrators and their supporters who were attempting to stage a sit-in outside the Maspero TV headquarters in downtown Cairo to protest attacks on a christian church in Upper Egypt.

Christian Copts took to the streets earlier Tuesday evening, marched from the heavily Coptic district of Shubra onto Egypt's High court before ending at Maspero.

Last Friday, Muslim extremists burned down the 71 year-old Mar Girgis church in Merinab village in the city of Edfu, located in the southern Aswan governorate of Egypt. 

Over the weekend, Moustafa al-Sayed, governor of Aswan, said on television that the Copts in the village were attempting to rebuild the aged church without aquiring the required planning permit.
 
However, Copts were able to produce documents that prove they had applied for and obtained all necessary paper work.
 
The protesters at Maspero demanded equality with Muslims, the prompt passage of a law that regulates the building of churches and mosques, and another law which criminalizes attacks on places of worship.
 
Moreover, Copts and supporters also demanded that the ruling military council sack the governor of Aswan, rebuild the church and compensate the Copts in Edfu.
 
Several activists on the scene reported over Twitter that a number of protesters were injured in clashes with soldiers, and at least 10 ministry of health ambulances were seen rushing towards the TV building. Others said that army temporarily detained five protesters, but no one was in military custody by morning time.
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