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New leadership

Demonstrators in Cairo’s Tahrir Square welcome one of their own as the country’s new prime minister

ICC Note:

“Despite overwhelming calls for democratic reforms, Coptic Christians continue to suffer discrimination,” World Magazine reports.

By Mindy Belz

3/4/2011 Egypt (World Magazine) – Successfully pressing for the resignation of Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq this week did not stop Egypt’s protesters from turning out en masse in Cairo Friday.

The military council running Egypt replaced Shafiq with Essam Sharaf, 59, a former transportation minister who took part in mass demonstrations in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. On Friday Sharaf appeared before an estimated 10,000 demonstrators who turned out in the square where they successfully held vigil to secure Mubarak’s downfall. Sharaf vowed to respond to the continuing demands of protesters, which include the release of political prisoners and the dissolution of Mubarak’s National Democratic Party. “I am here because I get my legitimacy from you,” he told the crowd. But Sharaf pleaded for patience in the transition as the crowd repeatedly interrupted him with chants of “We are with you.”

Copts continue to face intimidation and violence at the hands of both pro-Mubarak factions and Islamic radicals. Earlier this week, Coptic news outlets released video showing the February attack by Egyptian army units on the fifth century monastery of St. Bishoy in Wadi el-Natroun, 70 miles outside Cairo. Using tanks, the soldiers destroyed a security wall surrounding the monastery and fired on workers, wounding two monks and six monastery workers.

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