Egypt increases security nationwide ahead of Coptic Christmas

El-Sayed Gamal El-Din , Thursday 5 Jan 2023

Egyptian police forces have intensified their presence around houses of worship and surrounding areas nationwide to secure celebrations marking Coptic Christmas on 7 January.

File Photo: A special forces police officer stands guard to secure the area around Saint Mark s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral before a Coptic Christmas mass in Cairo. Reuters


The interior ministry's security directorates have deployed reinforcements around streets and axes leading to churches. In addition, electronic gates have been installed at church entrances to facilitate inspection measures.

Security directorates will be in charge of deploying security personnel around main squares, vital institutions, and tourist destinations countrywide.

Everyday security measures, including patrols, checkpoints, and other traffic services, will be available during the celebrations to address emergencies.

Coptic Orthodox Egyptians, who make up 90 per cent of the country’s Christian population, celebrate Christmas on 7 January according to the Julian Calendar.

Smaller Egyptian Christian denominations – such as Catholics and Evangelicals – celebrate Christmas on 25 December, according to the Gregorian Calendar.

Following the 30 June Revolution in 2013, several terrorist attacks targeted churches, police and army personnel, and civilians, especially during annual religious holidays.

Attacks, however, have significantly declined over recent years.

Coptic Christmas was declared a public holiday in Egypt in 2003.

This year, the government announced that Sunday, 8 January, will be a paid day off for public and private sector workers on the occasion of Coptic Christmas.


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