Anan to discuss Maspero clashes with church officials

Ahram Online, Wednesday 19 Oct 2011

Egyptian military's chief of staff, Sami Anan, will discuss the consequences of the bloody night and how to prevent a repeat from occurring

General Sami Anan
Chief of Staff of the Egyptian Armed Forces General Sami Anan (Photo: Reuters)

Military Chief of Staff Sami Anan is to meet with five bishops from the Coptic Church this afternoon to discuss the violent Maspero clashes on 9 October and how to prevent such a tragedy from occurring again.

The meeting will see Anan sit with the vice-president of the church's clerical council, Pope Shenouda III's secretary, and the three bishops responsible for citizen matters within the Church, Coptic Christian youth and the Shubra district. 

The clashes that erupted after the military police forcibly dispersed a march for Coptic rights in Maspero left 26 people dead and more than 300 injured. The Coptic Church ordered three days of fasting to mourn those slain. 

Today's meeting is the first time Anan talk to church officials after the tragic events, which left Egypt's Christian population angry at the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and the public in utter disbelief. Anan is the country's highest ranking military officer after Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, Egypt's de-facto ruler.

Pope Shenouda, patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church, along with seven church leaders, previously met with members of the ruling military council in Abbassiya Cathedral to discuss measures necessary to prevent an escalation in sectarian clashes and persecution. 

The march on Maspero was in protest against the lack of any official response to the torching of a church near Aswan by a mob on 30 September. 

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