News / Middle East

1 Killed, Dozens Arrested as Egyptian Christians Protest

Angry Egyptian Christians smash a police vehicle as they raise a cross during a riot, which left one one person dead, after authorities halted construction on a church saying the local Christian community had violated a building permit, in Cairo, Egypt, W
Angry Egyptian Christians smash a police vehicle as they raise a cross during a riot, which left one one person dead, after authorities halted construction on a church saying the local Christian community had violated a building permit, in Cairo, Egypt, W
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Egyptian officials say at least one person was killed and dozens injured Wednesday in violent clashes between security forces and demonstrators over construction of a new Christian church.

The rioting erupted in the Cairo suburb of Giza, near Egypt's pyramids, after authorities stopped construction of the church.

Coptic Christians

  • Copt is a word derived from the Greek name Aigyptos, which means Egypt
  • Coptic Christians are believed to be the largest, oldest Christian community in the Middle East
  • Unofficial extimates put them at less than 10% of Egypt's 80 million people
  • Coptic Christian community in Egypt has three denominations: Orthodox, Catholics, and Protestants (Evangelicans)
  • Pope Shenouda III is the head of the Coptic Church in Egypt

Egypt's official MENA news agency says authorities had not issued final permits for the church because of technical violations in its construction.  It says the clashes took place after more than 3,000 Christian protesters tried to continue construction.

Demonstrators hurled stones and at police officers who responded with tear gas.  Authorities arrested at least 93 people.

Egyptian officials say Giza province's deputy security chief and a dozen security officials have been wounded in the riot. 

Coptic Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt's population.  They frequently complain about unfair treatment and under-representation in the majority Muslim country.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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