Copts call for foreign protection, governor to compensate Imbaba victims

Around 200 Copts staged an open-ended sit-in before the US embassy in Cairo, starting late on Saturday, to call for international intervention – especially that of the US – to protect Copts in Egypt.

The protest came in the wake of sectarian clashes in Imbaba district yesterday in front of the Saint Mina church. Salafis and Copts fought over a Christian woman who allegedly converted to Islam and is being held at an Imbaba church. Twelve have been reported killed and 186 injured so far.

Most of the protesters are members of a Coptic group who staged a week-long sit-in two months ago in front of the Egyptian Television Building after sectarian clashes in the village of Sol in Helwan, which destroyed a church and left some dead.

Protesters described the Imbaba incident as one of a continuous series of assaults carried out by Islamic forces. Rami Kamal, one of the protest's leaders, told Al-Masry Al-Youm that he called on Copts to join the sit-in on Sunday to stop the attacks.

Bishoy Abdo, an Egyptian activist who holds American citizenship, told German news agency DPA that the sit-in will continue until they meet the US ambassador to Egypt.

“If the Egyptian government and army are unable to protect us, then we call on the international community, and the US specifically, to protect us or let us leave Egypt and go anywhere else since we feel we’re not Egyptians,” he added.

Bishoy expected a huge number of Copts to join and said that although the US ambassador is not likely to go to the embassy on Monday, “we will not end our sit-in before we meet with her.”

Meanwhile, the Giza governorate is paying out compensation to the victims of Saturday’s clashes, governor Ali Abdel Rahman said. Families of each person killed will be given LE5000, while those injured will receive LE2000.

Abdel Rahman added that most victims received by hospitals have superficial injuries.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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