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Minor clashes on New Year’s Eve

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Anti Coup Alliance to refrain from protesting near churches

Egyptian Coptics attend the New Year mass service at the Virgin Mary Coptic Christian church in Cairo's working class neighborhood of Al-Warrak on December 31, 2013.    (AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI)

Egyptian Coptics attend the New Year mass service at the Virgin Mary Coptic Christian church in Cairo’s working class neighborhood of Al-Warrak on December 31, 2013.
(AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI)

Ministry of Interior’s media office said Wednesday that insignificant clashes had taken place the day before between security forces and Muslim Brotherhood marches in Ain Shams.

The media office stressed that none of “our Christian brothers” were hurt from the clashes. The march, which began at Ahmed Essmat Street, was dispersed after a short period of time with the use of tear gas as stipulated by the Protest Law, after protesters began provoking bystanders, .

During a protest by the Brotherhood in Mohey Eddin Abul-Ezz Street in the Mohandessin neighbourhood, a police car was attacked and vandalised and an officer injured, according to the media office.

According the to the law the police officer has the right to use his personal firearm to protect himself in the case of an attack; however, the injured officer believed such a measure would only entice more violence, the media office said.

“The Brotherhood marches on this particular day only aim to ruin the joy of the Coptic celebrations,” said Magdy Saber, Vice President of the media unit of the Maspero Youth Coalition.

Saber added that there were minor injuries among the church scouts who volunteered to secure the church after security forces by checking the bags and identities of those entering the church.

Saber criticised Naguib Gobrael’s statements, announcing that members of the Kamel Gmeelak group volunteered to secure churches. “Those who attack churches are armed terrorists, and the Christians are peaceful and unarmed. Pushing back armed assailants is the responsibility of the entitled security forces,” he said.

Saber later thanked the security forces for fulfilling their role of protecting citizens and said that he hoped that the Coptic Christmas Eve on 6 January would also pass peacefully.

Mohamed Abdel Mawgood, High Board member of Al Watan Party and a member of the Anti Coup Alliance, stated that Christians have the right to freely practice their religious rituals, adding that the alliance has halted protests on Christmas Day [25 December].

“We have clear instructions to refrain from holding protests near churches; otherwise the protest is either not related to the alliance or is not following instructions,” Abdel Mawgood said.

The Anti Coup Alliance, in a statement on Monday 30 December, called for peaceful protests to continue during what they call The Week of Rage.

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AbdelHalim H. AbdAllah

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