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Copts protest Egypt train shooting

The area surrounding the Citadel was turned on Wednesday night into the scene of another round of clashes between Copts and the police

Hossam el-Hamalawy, Thursday 13 Jan 2011
The coffin of a 71-year-old Christian man
The coffin of a 71-year-old Christian man who was killed when an off-duty policeman boarded a train and opened fire (Photo: AP)

Hundreds of angry Copts cut the Autostrade and Salah Salem Road, blocking the traffic from 10 pm until around midnight on Wednesday evening, protesting the Samalout train shooting, which left one Copt dead.

Central Security Forces were deployed, according to eyewitnesses, clashing with the protesters descending from the Moqattam hill, home to Cairo's garbage collectors' community. The demonstrators were chanting against the government and sectarianism, calling for prosecuting the murderer.

Tear gas was used, and blogger Amr Gharbeia, a resident of Moqattam hill who witnessed the clashes, said he heard automatic gunfire shots in the air. A number of cars have been destroyed.

At least 12 persons were injured, and transported to nearby hospitals, medical sources told Ahram Online. Eight policemenn were also slightlly wounded.

On Tuesday night, hundreds of Copts rallyed outside Samalout's Good Shepherd hospital in upper Egypt, throwing stones and clashing with police who fired tear gas at them, security officials told Ahram Online.

The latest round of clashes comes after a policeman opened fire on train passengers on Tuesday night in the Upper Egyptian town of Samalout, killing one Copt and injuring at least five. It's unclear yet whether the attack was sectarian.

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