Egypt church attack triggers protests

News Desk

By News Desk — GlobalPost Editors
Published: January 2, 2011 22:34 ET in Middle East

Clashes broke out in Egypt on Sunday as Coptic Christians protested after a blast killed 21 people and injured close to 100 leaving a New Year’s Mass at a church early Saturday morning.

Protesters, angry with what they considered government negligence, pelted an Egyptian minister and police with stones after officials came to Cairo’s St Mark’s Cathedral to pay condolences, AFP reports.

“Demonstrators chased the state minister for economic development, Osman Mohammed Osman, to his car and pelted him with stones after he met [Coptic Pope] Shenouda, while others clashed with police standing outside the gates,” AFP states.

Security officers tried to control the second day of protests, which included demonstrators pelting cars with stones and stopping traffic.

The high tensions in Egypt after the blast in Alexandria are likely to cause political troubles for President Hosni Mubarak, who has ruled the country for 30 years and faces domestic dissatisfaction, The New York Times reports.

In a statement, President Obama denounced the attack as a “barbaric and heinous act,” and Pope Benedict XVI called it a “vile gesture.”

Coptic Christians make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s population of 80 million. Read more on the attacks from GlobalPost.

Here is video footage from inside the church just as the attack took place.

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