Organisers announce Coptic sit-in suspended

Ahram Online , Thursday 19 May 2011

After more than a week-long sit-in in front of the State TV offices, the Coptic organisers have temporarily called off the demonstrations, hoping government promises will yield results

Egyptian Copts, one holding a banner with a picture of Jesus Christ and writing in Arabic reading "Christ, Our God, is alive", demonstrate against the overnight sectarian violence, in downtown Cairo (Photo: AP)

Coptic protesters outside the State TV building in Maspero, Cairo announced today the suspension of their sit-in until the end of this month. In a noon press conference Thursday attended by the Maspero Youth Federation, Archbishop Matthias Nasr and Reverend Floptir Gameel as well other political figures and Coptic organisations who participated in the negotiations, the organisers announced that they intend to suspend their sit-in until 27 May as some of their demands have already been met.

Among other things, these demands included the release of 17 Copts arrested during the military crackdown and break-up of the last sit-in around a month ago. Furthermore, the interim interior minister, Mansour El-Essawi, according to Archbishop Nasr promised that 3 churches would open by tomorrow.

The churches are among more than 30 others closed for maintenance reasons. The protestors were also promised the release of Coptic activist Tasony Mary Ragheb by the end of this month. The sit-in organisers said a unified law for building places of worship will be passed within the next few days, after the discussion of a bill submitted by the ministry of justice. This too is considered by the protesters a political gain.

The Maspero sit-in started on 8 May after violent sectarian clashes erupted in Imbaba, Giza, leaving 15 dead. 

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