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Published: Monday, 4/8/2013

Violence in Cairo kills 1, injures 84 after funeral

Christians, Muslims fight outside church

REUTERS
Coptic Christians gather around four coffins during a funeral service Sunday at St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo. Violence after the funeral for the four Christians who were killed Friday led to another person dead and 84 injured. Coptic Christians gather around four coffins during a funeral service Sunday at St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo. Violence after the funeral for the four Christians who were killed Friday led to another person dead and 84 injured.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge

CAIRO — One person was killed and more than 80 were wounded in clashes at the Coptic Orthodox cathedral in Cairo on Sunday after a funeral service for four Egyptian Christians killed in sectarian violence with Muslims, state media said.

Christian-Muslim confrontations have increased in Muslim-majority Egypt since the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak in 2011 gave free rein to hard-line Islamists repressed under his autocratic rule.

The state news agency MENA said 84 people had been hurt in fighting after a ceremony at the cathedral.

Police fired tear gas to disperse the crowds, but clashes continued late into the evening.

In some of the worst sectarian violence in months, four Christians and one Muslim were killed Friday in El Khusus, north of Cairo, when members of both communities started shooting at each other.

Fresh clashes erupted Sunday when hundreds of angry Copts came to the funeral service at St. Mark’s Cathedral.

Some shouted slogans during the ceremony denouncing President Mohammed Morsi for failing to protect Christians.

Mr. Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, condemned the violence, telling Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II in a telephone call that any attack on the cathedral “is like an attack on me personally,” MENA reported.

Pope Tawadros condemned the violence and urged Egyptians to stay calm and “think carefully,” MENA said.

A group of Muslims showed solidarity with the Christians by attending the funeral service. The Copts allowed them to perform sunset prayers in the cathedral’s courtyard.

After an emotional church service, where relatives of the dead wept, young Christians chanted anti-government slogans and started hurling rocks at police officers outside the cathedral, a witness said.

Some protesters, believed to be Copts, smashed six private cars and set two on fire, prompting an angry reaction from Muslims living in the neighborhood, who threw homemade petrol bombs and stones at them, a witness said.

Mr. Morsi, who became Egypt’s first democratically elected civilian president in June, has promised to protect the rights of Copts, who make up about 10 percent of the country’s 84 million people.



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