Egyptian police hold 34 after clashes at cathedral
09 Dec 2004 15:34:20 GMT
CAIRO, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Egyptian police detained 34 people after clashing in Cairo with Christians protesting at what they said was the abduction of a priest's wife, security sources said on Thursday.
About 55 people were
injured in the clashes on Wednesday night at the gates of
Hundreds of Christians
had been staging a round-the-clock sit-in at the cathedral for four days,
demanding that the authorities return the wife, Wafa
Constantine, to the priest in the Nile Delta
They said Muslims had abducted her and forced her to convert to Islam. Security officials said she had left her husband voluntarily.
The confrontation ended in the early hours of Thursday when church authorities told the protesters that the woman was under their protection and they should disperse.
Police allowed them to leave the compound in small groups but detained 34 Christians whom they suspected of having attacked the police, the security sources said.
Church officials were not
immediately available to say what
It was the second
incident of sectarian strife in less than a week in
On Monday, police said
they arrested 25 people and were keeping apart Muslims and Christians in a
village south of
Muslims had set ablaze
two Christian-owned pharmacies and a book store, thrown stones at Christian
homes and destroyed three police cars in Munqateen,
220 km (140 miles) south of
Christians were the majority in