Pope Shenouda to meet families of Maspero Victims

20/10/2011

The head of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church, Pope Shenouda III, will meet Thursday with the families of Coptic protesters killed on 9 October during the violence that erupted outside the Maspero state TV building.

The bloody events left at least 27 protesters and one army soldier dead, in addition to more than 300 inured. The clashes followed a march by Coptic-led demonstrators decrying the mounting assaults on Christian places of worship.

A number of video clips had shown army vehicles running over a number of protesters, but the armed forces argued that the killings happened by mistake, adding that protesters set fire to the vehicles leading the soldiers to drive erratically.

In his weekly sermon on Wednesday at the Coptic Orthodox Cathedral, Shenouda said he would check on the the “martyrs’ families” to provide them with required aid and care based on their economic and social conditions.

The pope declined to answer questions about the church’s role in the upcoming parliamentary elections, only stressing that the church has a spiritual rather than political role.

Following the sermon, dozens of young Christians staged a candlelight vigil to mourn the Maspero victims, which was attended by a number of their relatives.

The violence in Maspero sparked Coptic indignance toward the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which was accused of failing to provide security for Copts in light of several assaults on churches since the SCAF assumed power in February.

On Tuesday, a number of Coptic protesters in the mostly-Christian Shubra district chanted slogans against SCAF head Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, voicing anger over the incident.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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