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Christian Copts Demonstrate Against Governor in Upper Egypt

ICC Note:

Christian Copts in Egypt protested on Monday for the resignation of the governor of Minya after his decision to demolish a church community center that cared for handicapped children, Assyrian International News Agency reports.

By Mary Abdelmassih

3/2/2011 Egypt (AINA) – Christian Copts staged a massive demonstration on Monday, February 28, against the Governor of Minya Ahmed Dia-el-Din, calling for his resignation. The demonstration was prompted by the governor’s decision to demolish a church community center for the care of the handicapped, located in the village of Deir Barsha, in Mallawi, Minya Governorate.

Over 10,000 demonstrators, mainly from the village of Deir Barsha, were joined by Copts from the neighboring village of Deir Heness. They marched to the local council in Deir Barsha, holding slogans calling on the governor to resign and chanted “Go, go after your master [Mubarak]” and “We stopped giving bribes, so now you want to demolish the center.”

After the demonstration was over, more than two hundred Copts refused to leave the handicapped center and staged an open-ended sit-in until the governor revokes his demolition order.

The 5-storey community center, which cost four million Egyptian pounds, belongs to the Coptic diocese of Mallawi and serves children and youth with special needs from 75 villages all over Minya governorate. It has a workshop to teach them a suitable vocation, as well as a free day clinic.

The Governor wanted to demolish the services building in January 2011, but could not because of the Coptic anger and demonstrations all over Egypt after the massacre of the Two Saints Church in Alexandria on New Year’s Eve, where a bomb killed 25 Copts and injured nearly 100.

“Those children and youth, some of them cannot talk or do anything for themselves,” said to one demonstrator, “so why deprive them of the place which can help them? It is utterly inhuman. This building was inaugurated by the governor himself four years ago and all licenses and papers are fully correct. Suddenly he wants to demolish it.”

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