Silent vigil at Cairo cathedral memorializes Maspero deaths

Hundreds of activists and young Copts organized a silent vigil on Sunday at Abbasseya Cathedral in Cairo, mourning the 27 civilians who died as a result of violence at a protest outside the state TV building on 9 October.

Egypt's armed forces face harsh criticism for their use of force during the Coptic protest, which decried mounting assaults on Coptic churches.

A number of people injured and families of those killed in the violence attended the vigil, which started at 6:30 pm.

Several activist groups also attended, including the Maspero Youth Union, the Coptic Union and Free Copts, Copts Without Restrictions, and Youth for Freedom and Justice, whose member, Mina Daniel, was killed at the protest. Coptic clerics were absent from the event.

Participants, who held candles and dressed in black, demanded retribution for the deaths and the release of people arrested in the clashes.

They also criticized military violence and called for a unified law for the construction of places of worship.

Magdy Saber, a media representative for the Maspero Youth Union, said the vigil was meant to commemorate the deaths and to demand an urgent investigation of the incident.

Saber backed participants' demands to remove Information Minister Osama Heikal, who they accuse of directing biased state TV coverage of the clashes and inciting sectarianism.

Participants also called for the resignation of Aswan Governor Mostafa al-Sayyed, following the attack on an Upper Egypt church on 30 September.

Dozens of activists in Alexandria marched Sunday from Qaed Ibrahim mosque to Saint Mark's Church in Raml district, mourning the victims and attacking the government and ruling military's stance.

The marchers handed out leaflets that called for the replacement of Prime Minister Essam Sharaf's government with “real opponents" of former President Hosni Mubarak's regime. They also called for revoking the emergency and anti-protest laws.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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