Three Days Of Mourning For Cairo Victims

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At least 26 people, mostly Christians, died and around 200 others were injured in the violence in the capital Cairo.

 

 

 

Video Link: http://news.sky.com/home/world-news/article/16085699

Copts protesting about an attack on a church set cars on fire, burned army vehicles and hurled rocks at police.

The riots on Sunday night spread to Tahrir Square and were the worst since the fall of former president Hosni Mubarak in February.

The church said the mourning period would begin on Tuesday to “bring back peace to Egypt”.

And the decision was made after its spiritual leader, Pope Shenouda III, met 70 bishops.

The church blamed “infiltrators” for triggering the clashes.

Violence erupted in Cairo after an attack on a Christian church.

Violence erupted in Cairo after an attack on a Christian church

 

It said: “The Christian faith denounces violence. Strangers infiltrated the demonstration and committed the crimes for which the Copts have been blamed.

“Copts have suffered repeated problems without accountability for the aggressors,” a statement said, calling on the authorities to “solve the root causes of the problems”.

Egypt’s Copts, who make up around 10% of the population of 80 million, have complained of systematic discrimination and have been the target of frequent attacks.

In the latest incident, protesters tore up pavements to use as weapons and several vehicles were set ablaze.

According to the AFP news agency, at least 16 bodies were seen in one Cairo hospital.

A man grieves near the bodies of protesters killed during clashes with Egyptian security forces.

A man grieves near the bodies of protesters killed during clashes

 

At least five of the dead were mown down by a speeding army vehicle, a priest from the minority Coptic community said.

Other bodies allegedly bore gunshot wounds.

State television had earlier reported that three soldiers were shot dead and dozens of their comrades were wounded.

The Copts had protested after the burning of a church in southern Egypt.

 

The government has appealed for calm and denied that the violence was sectarian in nature.

Prime Minister Essam Sharaf is to hold crisis talks at an emergency cabinet meeting over the violence.

Smoke from tear gas fills the street as protesters clash with Egyptian security forces in Cairo.

Smoke from tear gas fills the street as protesters clash with Egyptian security forces

 

Mr Sharaf said he had contacted security and church authorities to contain the situation.

“The only beneficiary of these events and acts of violence are the enemies of the January revolution and the enemies of the Egyptian people, both Muslim and Christian,” he said on his Facebook page.

Cars on fire

Cars were set ablaze by Christian protesters in Cairo

 

“What happened is not sectarian strife. We should be aware of this. This is a conspiracy to delay the elections,” Sharaf told state television late on Sunday.

Tahrir Square was the focal point of pro-democracy protests by a cross-section of Egyptian religious affiliations earlier this year, culminating in the overthrow of long-time leader Mubarak.

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