156 held after deadly police-Christian clashes in Egypt

CAIRO — Egypt’s public prosecutor on Thursday accused 156 protesters arrested in clashes between Christians and police of planning to kill policemen and ordered their detention for two weeks.

By (AFP)

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Published: Thu 25 Nov 2010, 8:39 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 8:19 AM

The protesters were arrested during bloody clashes with police in Cairo on Wednesday over the government’s refusal to grant them a permit to build a church. One demonstrator was killed in the violence and dozens were wounded.

A judicial source said the protesters were accused of “planning to kill policemen” and illegally demonstrating to prevent the authorities from doing their work.

They will remain in custody for questioning for two weeks and will then either be formally charged or have their detention renewed if they are not released.

The Coptic Christians who clashed with the police on Wednesday had been protesting against an official decision to stop them from converting a community centre under construction in Cairo’s Giza governorate into a church.

Copts, who comprise up to 10 percent of Egypt’s 80-million population, need a presidential permit to build churches, with the decision usually delegated to governors.

The Christian minority complains of discrimination from the country’s Muslim majority and has been the target of sectarian attacks, sometimes over the building of churches.

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