CAIRO: Twenty-nine people were injured in Cairo on Thursday when residents clashed with a group of Christians marching through the capital to commemorate those who died in confrontations with the army on Oct. 9, state news agency MENA said.
The Coptic Christians were marching from Cairo’s northern Shoubra suburb towards the landmark Tahrir Square in the city center when the clashes broke out.
“The locals in the neighborhood of Bulak attacked the group on their way to the square and threw stones at them,” a security source told Reuters.
Another attack took place as the protesters were regrouping in Shoubra where residents and protesters threw stones, glass and Molotov cocktails at each other.
The marchers scattered after the attack. Riot police arrived and a priest asked the protesters to disperse, saying the army had sealed off the city center near Tahrir and the march could not go ahead.
“We were attacked by the residents nearby … And I saw two demonstrators injured,” said Christian protester Rizk Samir.
MENA quoted a spokesman for the Ministry of Health as saying the injuries varied between bruises, minor cuts and fainting. Of the injured, 24 were released after receiving medical care.
At least 25 people were killed in Maspero on the night of Oct. 9 when Christian protesters clashed with the army.
It was the deadliest in a series of bloody sectarian skirmishes that have left more than 40 dead and thousands injured since a popular uprising overthrew President Hosni Mubarak in February.
Christians, who make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s 80 million people, have long complained of barriers to the construction of churches and what they see as the growing influence of Islamists who were suppressed during Mubarak’s 30-year rule.