40 injured in clashes outside Cairo church

Twenty-five central security personnel and 15 protesters were injured yesterday in clashes during a protest staged by hundreds of Copts in front of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Abassiya, Cairo, security sources said.

The protest came in the aftermath of a deadly New Year's Eve bombing at a church in Alexandria that left 21 dead and scores injured.

Angry protesters damaged several cars passing in front of the church and chanted anti-government slogans as a number of officials and ministers entered to offer condolences to Pope Shenouda, the sources said.

Ismail al-Shaer, Cairo's security chief, was present at the church but protesters did not respond to calls for calm.

The protesters urged the Pope to express his anger and said they rejected the condolences of officials and Muslims.

Security forces attempted to merge a smaller nearby protest with the first to limit the scale of protests, but protesters attacked the police with sticks, bottles and the crosses they were holding, according to the sources.

Security used tear gas to break up the protest and managed to move the protesters into the church grounds.

Meanwhile, protesters damaged a public bus and six cars and clashed with shop owners in the area, the sources said.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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