Egypt’s attorney general ordered the detention of 156 protesters involved in clashes with riot police after the authorities blocked construction of a church in a Cairo suburb.
The authorities had halted construction of the church although the Copts said they had an official permit. Some Christians demonstrated near the church and others near the Giza governor’s office on Wednesday, 24th Nov 2010. One Christian was killed and dozens were wounded in Giza on Wednesday when about 3,000 Orthodox Copts hurled stones at police lines. Some officers threw them back and Muslims also lobbed rocks at the Christian protesters from behind the security cordon.
Thirty lawyers tried to attend police questioning of 120 of the protestors late on Wednesday but were blocked from entering the public prosecutor’s office in Giza, a rights group said. Five lawyers who later managed to enter the building were told by the general prosecutor that they could attend the questioning but could not consult privately with the accused, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights said in a statement. “The prosecutors denied the lawyers’ request to consult privately with the accused. They refused to put on record the lawyers’ arguments questioning the validity of the proceedings and they also refused to put on record the injuries sustained by some of the accused,” the group said.
Giza Governor Sayyed Abdel-Aziz said the Christians appeared to have misused a permit for a social center to build a church. The Christians said they had the right permit and would continue to build the three-storey domed structure. Christians make up 10 percent of Egypt’s 79 million people.