Nov 18 2011 5:18 AM
ATTACKERS have thrown rocks and broken glass at a march by Coptic Christians in Cairo, injuring 10, in the latest outbreak of sectarian violence less than two weeks before elections.
About 400 Christians marched through the Cairo neighbourhood of Shubra overnight to mark the end of 40 days of mourning after sectarian clashes that killed 27 people, most of them Christians, witnesses said.
During the march, attackers threw stones, bricks and broken glass on the marchers from a six-floor apartment building, said marcher Hossam Victor. Clashes broke out and 10 people were injured, two of them seriously.
Mr Victor and other marchers blamed supporters of Gamal Saber, an ultraconservative Islamist candidate in Egypt’s elections, set to begin on November 28.
“They rained rocks and glass down on us from the building, and the police stood by and watched without doing anything,” he said.
Security forces later separated the sides. Mr Saber, the parliamentary candidate, called the Christian marchers “stupid” and blamed them for starting the clashes as a way to harm his election campaign.
Sectarian tensions have been building up across Egypt since the 18-day uprising that ousted President Hosni Mubarak in February.
Coptic Christians, who make up about 10 per cent of Egypt’s population, have long complained of state discrimination. They feel under increasing threat since the uprising and worry that Islamist groups, competing openly in an election campaign for the first time, will impose restrictions on their community.