Muslim Brotherhood warns of sectarian strife in Qena

Ahram Online, Sunday 17 Apr 2011

Upper Egyptian city sees third day of demonstrations following the appointment of controversial governor, with the Islamist group urging peaceful protest

The Muslim Brotherhood has warned of the dangers of ongoing unrest in Qena – stirred by persistent protests against newly-appointed governor Emad Shehata Michael – saying the Upper Egypt city could see sectarian bloodshed if the dispute is not peacefully resolved.

Protests broke out in Qena on Friday, several hours after General Michael, a former police official and the second Coptic Christian to hold the post, was appointed as the city's new governor.

Protesters, most of them reportedly belonging to Islamist groups as well as Qena members of the January 25 Youth Coalition, spent the night in front of the local governing headquarters chanting against Michael.

More demonstrations were staged on Saturday when some protesters began to block the city's railway lines, causing delays in transportation.

In their second statement in three days the Muslim Brotherhood urged protesters to neither terrorise peaceful citizens nor resort to sectarian violence to express their views.

The group emphasised its rejection of all kinds of violence, implying that  remnants of Egypt's toppled former regime are still seeking to destabilise the country.

The Muslim Brotherhood have held discussions with protesters in an attempt to contain the situation.

Demonstrators had previously likened Michael to former Qena Governor Magdy Ayoub, whose reign saw heightened sectarian tensions between Christians and Muslims in the city.

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