Protests across Egypt denounce Alex church attack

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CAIRO/ALEXANDRIA: Clashes broke out as hundreds marched down the Corniche Sunday in protest of the attack on an Alexandria church during New Year’s Mass.

Starting close to Abdel-Moneim Riad Square and the state television building, around a thousand people marched towards Imbaba to denounce the attacks. Clashes broke out when police tried to control the crowds down the road as rocks, bottles and shoes were seen flying overhead.

By 6:30 pm, police had dispersed the crowds.

Meanwhile in downtown Cairo, security cordoned tens of protesters who gathered for a previously planned demonstration held in solidarity with Tunisia, where violent protests took over last week against unemployment and economic hardships.

Gathering at Talaat Harb Square, protesters, who were also chanting against the church bombing, moved towards the Journalists’ Syndicate and then to Ramses Square surrounded by heavy police presence. Security clashed with demonstrators with reports of brief detentions of journalists and activists.

By 7:30 pm, about 50 protesters were cordoned by police at Ramses Square and prevented from leaving.

In Alexandria, around 200 protested Sunday near Al-Qeddesine Church (The Church of the Two Saints), the site of the attack, chanting against the government. Until press time, police was trying to disperse the Copt-dominated protest.

In Assiut, around 2,000 Coptic Christians demonstrated on Sunday in Al-Ezziyah village against the bombing that left 21 dead in Alexandria.

The protest witnessed limited violence where one Muslim was reportedly beaten by demonstrators and one car was vandalized.

Demonstrators walked through the village’s main streets condemning the government’s stance against Copts chanting “Where is media, here are the Copts,” “Cross and the Bible are the first and the last” and other chants against the president.

Security forces were spread around but did not interrupt the protest that lasted from 1 pm until 3 pm.

In reaction to the demonstration, Muslim residents of the neighboring Hawatka village vandalized a car owned by one of the village’s Copts.



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