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Copts and supporters to commemorate Maspero martyrs in march to Tahrir on Friday

In conjunction with the 40th Anniversary of of Coptic Pope Shenouda's tenure as head of the Coptic Church, the Maspero Youth Coalition call for a march from the Abbasiya Cathedral towards Tahrir Square on Friday

Nada El-Kouny , Thursday 10 Nov 2011
Coptic Protest
Galaa Street, minutes before the bloody turn of events at Maspero, Downtown Cairo, 9 September, 2011 (Photo: Nada El-Kouny)

In remembrance of the Maspero clashes that took place on 9 October, 2011, more popularly dubbed as ‘Bloody Sunday’, a march is set to take place from  the Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Abbasiya, near downtown Cairo and will end at Tahrir square. 

The march commemorating the Maspero martyrs is organised on the 40th Anniversary of Coptic Pope Shenouda III’s tenure as the head of the Coptic Church.

The Maspero Youth Coalition (MYC), a group of Coptic youths who have played a leading role in organising for equality for Egypt's Coptic minority, is spearheading the march.

According to Ramy Kamal, the general coordinator of the MYC, the march is set to start at 2pm on Friday, outside the premises of the cathedral, and will take its route through Ramses, towards Talaat Harb Street, reaching its final destination, Tahrir square.

A celebration of the Pope's four-decade leadership of Egypt's Copts was set to take place inside the courtyard of the cathedral before the march, but the MYC cancelled it was announced on Wednesday, citing logistical reasons.

According to an article published in Al Tahrir newspaper on Thursday, Pope Shenouda has turned down the march organisers request to start the procession from inside the premises of the cathedral, and objected to the whole idea of protesting on this occassion, in fear violent clashes similar to Maspero's might erupt.

However, Kamal told Ahram Online that he has not heard of any objections by the Pope to the planned march, and that the procession is to take place as planned.

The Maspero massacre that took place on 9 October, 2011 is still an open wound for many Egyptians, and continues to be a topic of contention between Copts and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).

The Cabinet’s fact-finding commission, which was set to investigate the events that led to the death of at least 26 people on 9 October has long delayed publishing the results of its inquiry which were expected to come out two weeks after the events took place.

To further delay the matter of determining what actually took place on Bloody Sunday, military prosecutors announced on 13 October, 2011, that the army would be the sole body that investigates the clashes between its personnel and protesters at Maspero.

“Violence will never be a solution when it comes to dealing with the Copts' demands”, Kamal stressed.

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