Two people were killed and two others injured during a fight between Muslim and Christians Monday night in Abu Qurqas, Minya.
A dispute flared between a Christian family and a Muslim family when the latter objected to a speed bump the Christian family erected in front of its house. The Coptic homeowner, Alaa Reda Roushdi, is a former National Democratic Party parliamentary candidate.
He denied some accusations that he ignited the violence, saying the fight broke out after a motorcyclist and a taxi driver had an accident near the speed bump.
"I came back from work on Monday night and found a biker and a taxi driver fighting in front of my home, as both had an accident," Roushdi said.
Roushdi said a cafeteria he owns was damaged in the accident.
The dispute developed into a gun fight, leading to the death of two and the injury of two others.
The clashes renewed as both families attended the funeral of the victims. Dozens smashed Christian-owned stores, and four Christian houses at the nearby Fekriya village were set on fire, covering the village with pillows of smoke.
Security forces surrounded Roushdi's house to protect his family from retaliation.
Minya's criminal investigations chief, Atef al-Qeyi, said that police authorities were coordinating with the military to apprehend those suspected of arson and vandalism.
Calm was restored when army and police forces were deployed to prevent further fighting.