Coptic Pope cancels visit to Alexandria due to security concerns
Ahram Online, Saturday 24 Nov 2012
Newly-anointed Coptic Pope Tawadros cancels his first visit to Alexandria, the Holy See of the Coptic Church, following protests that erupted across the country Friday

Egypt's Coptic Pope Tawadros postpones his visit to the Holy See in Alexandria just two hours before he was supposed to embark on the trip on Saturday.

This was to be the Pope's first visit to Egypt's second-largest city since his anointment on 18 November.

Hundreds of Copts had already gathered in front of St Mark's Church to welcome the Pope before the short-notice cancellation.

A church source tells Al-Ahram Arabic-language news portal that the Pope's first governorate visit will still be to Alexandria.

On Friday, Mahatet Raml - where St Mark's Church is located - saw violent clashes between Morsi supporters and opponents.

A group of anti-Brotherhood protesters stormed and vandalised the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party office.

Thousands marched in rival protests across Egypt on Friday in response to the highly-controversial decree issued by president Morsi, who hails from the Brotherhood. The president issued a constitutional declaration, shielding the Upper House and the Constituent Assembly, as well as any of his decrees from judicial oversight.

Morsi's constitutional declaration was denounced both locally by Morsi opponents as well as internationally by the United Nations and the European Union.