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Attackers hit Egyptian Christian marchers, 10 hurt

By Maggie Michael
Associated Press / November 17, 2011

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CAIRO—Attackers threw rocks and broken glass at a march by Coptic Christians in Cairo Thursday, injuring 10, in the latest outbreak of sectarian violence less than two weeks before the start of parliamentary elections.

About 400 Christians marched through the Cairo neighborhood of Shubra 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.

Victor and other marchers blamed supporters of Gamal Saber, an ultraconservative Islamist candidate in Egypt's parliamentary elections, set to begin Nov. 28.

"They rained rocks and glass down on us from the building, and the police stood by and watched without doing anything," Victor said.

One 25-year-old marcher, whose arm appeared to be broken, said police spotted a tattoo of a cross on his upper arm and shoved him toward the attackers, who beat him, injuring his arm. He declined to give his name, fearing retaliation.

Security forces later separated the sides. 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 percent 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. top stories on Twitter

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