Live Updates: Protesters march from Coptic Hospital to cathedral

1:01 am: The funeral service is over.

12:56 am: The priest announces that all of the martyrs will be buried together in a collective Christian cemetary in 6 October City. A commotion errupts as the coffins are taken from the cathedral and crying mourners struggle to touch them.

12:40 am: The cathedral is full of mourners. The priest says that the martyrs have "saved the church with their blood."

12:20 am: Al-Masry Al-Youm reporters estimate that 20,000 people joined the march, which was entirely peaceful. Local residents seemed supportive of the march, with some throwing bottles of water to thirsty protesters from their balconies. Some people are now inside the Coptic Cathedral praying.

11:43 pm: A march of thousands from the Coptic Hospital on Ramses Street has arrived at the largest Coptic cathedral in Cairo in Abbasseya. Protesters chant, "Muslims and Christians are one hand!" 

11:20 pm: Thousands of protesters are marching along Ramses Street, carrying the dead bodies of 17 people killed in the Maspero violence from the hospital to the Cathedral in Abbasseya. As they march, they are chanting: "Down with military rule!" and "This is not a sectarian conflict, this is a military massacre."

7:20 pm: Thousands are marching from the protest outside of the Coptic Hospital toward Maspero, the state TV building that was the site of last night's clashes.

6:49 pm: The cabinet announced through its Facebook page the addition an article to the penal code called the Equality Law, stipulation special punishments for anyone who carries out any action that causes against individuals or communities based on gender, race, language or religion, and which might lead to unequal opportunity or social inequality. Punishments can include a detention or a fine ranging from LE30,000 to LE50,000.

The punishment increases to at least three months in detention and a fine of between LE50,000 to LE100,000 if the perpetrator is a public employee.

The article was drafted by the cabinet two months ago and was pending SCAF’s approval.

5:53 pm: A spokesperson for US President Barack Obama said in a news conference that "the United States continues to believe that the rights of minorities — including Copts — must be respected."

5:40 pm: Information Minister Osam Heikel appears on state television and announces that anyone who "spreads rumors" about state TV will be tried.

5:25 pm: A group of approxmately 1500 protesters are rallying outside the Coptic Hospital. Protesters have blocked Ramses Street and are chanting anti-SCAF slogans. More people seem to be arriving in small groups.

4:39 pm: Khaled Ali, a lawyer and the head of the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights, is at the Coptic Hospital with the head of the coroners office. They are awaiting the arrival of the rest of the autopsy team.

4:22 pm: Standing outside the cathedral after the funerals, Aida Mahrous, 42, told Al-Masry Al-Youm: "The next regime will be the same. The policy will never change. The solution to our problems is to prove we are one people, Muslim and Christian, because the regime will stay corrupt." Mahrous was not entirely pessimistic, however. "When the church bombing happened on New Years’ Eve [in early January 2011], we waited 25 days and look what happened. We’re chanting again now."

Another protester outside the cathedral said that during the clashes last night he was taking his wife to the hospital when he was stopped at a joint military-police checkpoint on the on-ramp to the October Bridge. A group of men in civilian clothes were also present, the man said. They asked him religion and smashed his windshield with a rock when he told them he was Christian.

4:11 pm: The Coptic Hospital, where many of the bodies of those killed yesterday are being held, is closing because autopsies are due to begin soon.

4:06 pm: After exiting the cathedral, mourners have gathered nearby and are chanting against Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi, Egypt's de-facto ruler.

4:03 pm: Mililtary prosecutors have begun interrogations of 25 suspects implicated in the violence yesterday, according to state media.It is unclear whether the investigations are being conducted by the military prosecutors or the public prosecutor, who just ordered an autopsy team to the Coptic Hospital where most of the bodies are being held.

4:00 pm: Khaled Ali, a lawyer and the head of the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights, say he and other lawyers have spoken to the Attorney General and agreed to bring an autopsy team to the Coptic Hospital.

3:55 pm: Funeral services for the victims of last night's violence end and the bodies of those killed leave the Coptic Cathedral in Abbasseya on their way to burial.

3:45 pm: The priest at the funeral service announces that only four bodies are present, as the rest await autopsies. The Coptic Church issued a call to its followers to begin a three-day-long fast to mourn those killed.

3:40 pm: Coptic Pope Shenouda III is offering prayers over the coffins of those killed last night.

3:35 pm: Al-Azhar, Egypt's most highest religious institution, has called for a new law regulating the construction of churches. The initial incident in Aswan that sparked last night's protest was an attack on a church that attackers claimed was being built in contravention to the law. Coptic groups have long complained that laws regulating houses of worship are discriminatory.

3:30 pm: The Muslim Brotherhood has released a statement saying that last night's violence indicates an attempt by both internal and external forces to abort the revolution and disrupt the march towards democracy. “There are certain channels, means and times for demanding legitimate demands  and all Egyptian people have legitimate demands, not only our Coptic brothers,” said the statement. “This is certainly not the right time to demand them since the current government is an interim government and the general conditions are abnormal." The Brotherhood's statement added that the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces maintain the current schedule for elections.

3:15 pm: State TV has raised the death toll from yesterday's violence to 25.

3:00 pm: Church representatives are meeting with families of the dead at the Coptic Hospital to discuss autopsies.

2:20 pm: Activists say that families of all 17 dead at the Coptic Hospital have agreed to request autopsies.

1:30 pm: A team of detectives from the public prosecution examined the scene of the clashes that took place outside Maspiro on Sunday. The investigation aims to count the number of deaths and assess the damages to public and private property. The investigators visited hospitals to hear statements from victims and talked to dozens of eyewitnesses, according to the state news agency MENA. The attorney general has ordered permission to bury 20 bodies of those who died in the fighting.

Related Articles

Back to top button