Qena citizens protest appointment of Christian governor

Citizens from the Upper Egyptian governorate of Qena held protests for the third day running on Sunday against the appointment of a Christian governor, bringing trains along the north-south railway line to a standstill.

Prime Minister Essam Sharaf announced on Thursday the replacement of 14 governors across the country. In Qena, this meant that Madgy Ayoub was replaced with Emad Mikhail as governor. Both men are Christians.

Stranded at Qena's railway station, passengers called upon the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to immediately intervene to solve the problem. They blamed the crisis on remnants of the toppled regime, who, they said, are waging a counter-revolution.

Saad Suleiman, director of railway services in Aswan, said trains scheduled to depart on Sunday, as well as those expected to arrive on the same day, had been forced to halt.

"It is out of our hands. It's up to the military council," Suleiman said.

Since Friday, Qena has been the scene of widespread demonstrations, organized by Salafi groups and the Muslim Brotherhood, protesting the selection of a Christian governor.

Thousands have entered the third day of protests in front of the governor's office, chanting religious slogans, and calling for the appointment of a Muslim to the post.

The demonstrators have threatened to prevent Mikhail from starting his work.

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