Copts in Aswan demand construction of church

About 1500 Coptic Egyptians staged demonstrations before the Aswan municipality headquarters in Upper Egypt on Monday to demand the construction of a church in the village of Marinab, close to the town of Edfu.

Muslims and Christians previously clashed over construction of the church.

Police surrounded the headquarters to protect it from the demonstrators, who came to protest against Muslims preventing them from turning a guesthouse in Edfu into a church.

They rejected reconciliation through traditional councils, and demanded the arrest and prosecution of those instigating violence. They also demanded the dismissal of Aswan Governor Mohamed al-Sayed.

Marinab has witnessed sectarian tensions since Friday, when the Copts built an additional floor and a dome above the guesthouse without a permit, prompting Muslims to clash with them. There were no casualties reported.

After the clashes, the Copts pledged to remove the extra floor and began to demolish it.

Abdel Fattah Saad Zaghloul, president of the Edfu Council, said the Copts had applied to build a guesthouse, not a church. “They have violated the license that was granted to them by building a church instead,” he said.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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