The leader of Egypt's Coptic church Pope Tawadros II said in a sermon Sunday that the victims of the brutal Maspero clashes of October 2011 were "our sons and their blood is precious to us," stressing that people connected to it are still demanding their rights.
The sermon follows his recent controversial comments perceived by critics to have downplayed the deadly clashes and discouraged legal inquiry into the events.
In his sermon given on Sunday at the Alexandria Cathedral, Tawadros said, “The case needs criminal investigation."
“The Maspero clashes of 2011 are a horrifying and undeniable incident that are equally shocking as the 2011 Two Saints Church bombings,” the pope added.
Tawadros paid a three-day visit to Alexandria during which he visited churches of the Virgin Mary and Saint Mark. He performed the divine liturgy and gave a sermon regarding preparations for Christmas and the New Year.
However, in a recent interview with Spanish newspaper El Mundo,Tawadros said, "It is not wise to talk about Maspero now," citing uncertainty over who was at fault for the incident."We are seeking the truth, but at the suitable time," he added.
In October 2011, 27 Coptic protesters were killed during a peaceful deomstration against the destruction of a church in Aswan, in front of the Maspero television building in downtown Cairo.
Video clips had shown army vehicles running over protesters, but army officials say the killings occurred by mistake and accused protesters of assaulting the armed forces.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm