Temporary end of Alexandria events after two killed and dozens arrested
Abdel Muez Mohamed
After three days of fighting, the clashes between a number of Copts in Alexandria and security forces have ended. The calm that prevails in the popular Asafra neighborhood came after violent events that led to the killing of two individuals, one Muslim and one Copt, as well as the more than 33 citizens injured and the 55 arrested, most of them Copts.
Security forces dispersed the sit-in that was organised by a group of Coptic youth in front of the Saints Church (note: aka Two Saints Church) located in the Asafra neighborhood. The youth rejected appeals by the security forces to break up their sit-in and to hand over the weapons and swords in their possession, particularly after the serious injury of a sound technician from one of the satellite agencies after he was attacked by Coptic youth who caused chaos and confusion in the area. They chanted slogans inciting racism and strife. They were confronted by a group of Muslim children in a similar demonstration. The Copts threw stones at them and the children responded equally, at which time the security forces found it appropriate to intervene as to not reach the point of bloody clashes between the two parties. [The security forces] shot teargas and rubber bullets and dispersed the sit-in by force. They arrested the troublemakers of the strife from the two sides. At that time the demonstrations of the Muslim crowds that were denouncing the events left, the protesters chanted slogans like “The crescent lives together with the cross” and “One national unity” which pushed dozens of Copts to join the demonstration, which had a great effect in calming the atmosphere.
A number of elders from the neighborhood and the governorate attempted to hold a reconciliation session, and they demanded that the Muslim Brotherhood representative in the district, Mustafa Mohammed Mustafa, join the session for his prominent role in calming down the situation and to restrain it.
The General Prosecutor renewed the custody of the accused in the assault on three churches last Friday for 45 days pending investigation. In his statements to the General Prosecutor, the accused has confirmed that he attacked Mar Girgis Church at around nine o’clock in the morning. There, he stabbed three individuals in the Church’s courtyard. After that he boarded a tram from the al-Hadara quarter to the Misr train station, where he took a cab to the Al-Qidiseen Church, concealing the knife that he was carrying, and there he stabbed three others. When he was finished with the second church, he cleaned the used weapon, and boarded a microbus to the Holy Virgin Church in the Gianaclis quarter and tried to break into the church. He managed to escape even though security chased him. He then boarded a tram to attack Mar Girgis Church, which is located in the Sporting neighborhood. At the scene, security forces managed to arrest him as he shouted “Let me go to kill five or six others!” according to the story we were told by a judicial source.
Translated by JS.