President Mohamed Morsi has called for an investigation into the attacks on mourners at Abbasiya Cathedral on Sunday.
All necessary security measures were taken to contain the violence which killed two and injured 90, the president said in a statement issued late on Monday.
Violence broke out on Sunday outside Saint Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Abbasiya, Cairo. A funeral had taken place for Copts killed on Saturday in sectarian clashes in Qalioubiya, north of Cairo.
The statement, published in English on the Facebook page of presidential assistant for foreign relations Essam Haddad, claimed the violence started after mourners vandalised cars on Ramses Street and local people responded by throwing stones and launching fire crackers.
“The situation further escalated into guns and pellet guns being fired, according to the neighborhood's security official,” the statement read.
“Camera lens also captured individuals carrying live weapons, Molotov cocktails, and rocks to the roof of the cathedral as well as inside and outside of it which prompted police to intervene and disperse the clashes with tear gas,” the statement added.
The prosecutor-general has called for an investigation into the violence and sent the victims’ bodies for a forensic autopsy.
The statement said, "The Ministry of Interior has been committed to the president's instructions of self-restraint in dealing with the violent acts and in considering the balance between the citizens’ right to peaceful expression of opinion and the right of all citizens to safety and security."
“In this context, the Egyptian presidency would like to affirm its full rejection of violence in all its forms, and under any pretext and affirms that all Egyptians are citizens who should enjoy all rights and are equal before the law.
“The presidency further stresses that it will not allow any attempts to divide the nation, incite sedition, or drive a wedge among Egyptians under any pretense and that it is doing all it can to realize the sovereignty of law and hold the assailants accountable,” the statement concluded.
Late on Monday, President Mohamed Morsi announced the revival of the National Council for Justice and Equality (NCJE).
The council was formed in November 2011 by the government of then-prime minister Essam Sharaf. It was mandated with promoting the ideals of justice and equality, disseminating a culture of citizenship and furthering the principle of equality regardless of race, religion or gender.