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Egyptian MPs sit-in in protest at cathedral violence

Angry MPs demand dismissal of interior minister for failure to protect the Coptic cathedral where Christian mourners were attacked on Sunday

Ahram Online , Monday 8 Apr 2013

An open-ended sit-in was staged on Monday 8 April afternoon at the Shura Council by a number of council members, mainly from liberal and leftist parties, in protest at the sectarian clashes and attacks that took place at Al-Khosous in Qalioubiya Governorate and at Saint Mark's Cathedral in Cairo over the last two days.

The MPs held a press conference inside the Shura Council where they denounced what happened on Sunday at Saint Mark's Cathedral in Abbasiya, Cairo. Some of the MPs demanded the dismissal of the minister of interior for his failure to secure the funeral of the victims of sectarian clashes in Al-Khosous at the cathedral in Cairo on Sunday.

The MPs participating in the open sit-in included Haile Selasse Maikhail from the Free Egyptians Party; Nadia Henry, Ramy Lakh and Nabil Azmi from Our Egypt Party; Kamel Soliman and Mohamed Abu El-Ainein from the Wafd Party; Abdel Shakour Abdel Magid from the Egyptian Socialist Democratic Party; and Ehad Kharat and Mamdouh Ramzy.

The majority of the Shura Council’s members are from Islamist parties, led by the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party.

Sectarian clashes erupted on Friday and Saturday in Al-Khosous city in Qalioubiya north of Cairo, after some Christian youths apparently drew graffiti on the walls of an Islamic school. According to official figures, six people were killed, including one Muslim and five Christians, although local Christian sources said the number of Copts killed was higher.

On Sunday clashes erupted in Cairo after the funeral of the five Christians at Saint Mark’s Cathedral, when mourners were attacked by unknown assailants, who pelted them with stones. Two people died and more than 80 were injured in the resulting clashes. One of the dead was a Coptic Christian; the second has not yet been identified. 

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