The Virgin Mary church in Zeitoun apologised on Wednesday to journalists allegedly assaulted while covering Pope Tawadros II’s visit to the church on Tuesday.
The Pope was visiting the Virgin Mary church to commemorate the apparition of the Virgin Mary, reported state-owned Al-Ahram. Journalists covering the event filed a complaint to the Press Syndicate on Wednesday claiming to have been attacked by a staff member of the church in the process.
“The church claimed what happened was an isolated incident,” said Karem Mahmoud, board member of the syndicate. “They said [church staff] got too excited.”
Reverend Angelos, Pope Tawadros II’s secretary, told Al-Ahram the assault was a result of a “massive crowd and stampede” due to the large number of attendants.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the Press Syndicate stated the head of the syndicate Diaa Rashwan received a complaint from a group of journalists claiming to have been attacked by the Virgin Mary church staff members. The syndicate condemned the “criminal assault”, adding that according to the attacked journalists, this isn’t the first time for such an assault to take place.
The syndicate demanded an immediate apology from the church to the assaulted journalists and the syndicate. It announced its full solidarity with the assaulted journalists during any legal measures they will resort to.
Attacks on journalists have proliferated throughout Egypt lately. In two separate incidents in March, journalists were attacked outside the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in Moqattam while covering events. Journalists and media practitioners were also attacked outside the Egyptian Media Production City during a “siege” on the city organised by Islamist groups to condemn the media’s coverage of the Moqattam clashes.