CAIRO (AFP) – Thousands of people packed Cairo’s main cathedral on Sunday for the funeral prayers of four Coptic Christians killed in sectarian clashes.
“Down, down with Brotherhood rule,” the congregation chanted in reference to the ruling Muslim Brotherhood of President Mohamed Morsi.
“Leave!” they chanted as they held up wooden crosses, television footage showed.
One Muslim was also killed in the clashes which flared on Friday night in Al-Khusus, a poor area in Qalyubia governorate, after a Muslim in his 50s objected to children drawing a swastika on a religious institute.
The man insulted Christians and the cross, and an argument broke out with a young Christian man who was passing by, which escalated into a gun battle between the Muslims and the Christians in which assault rifles were used.
A priest in Al-Khusus, Suryal Yunan, said 0n Saturday attackers torched “parts” of an Anglican church.
Muslims also set a Christian home ablaze and ransacked a pharmacy owned by a Copt, a police official said.
A number of angry Muslim residents tried to surround the town’s Mar Girgis church, but the security presence in the area prevented them from doing so.
Both sides then lit tyres in the narrow streets where residents live in crowded slum housing.
Christians form between six and 10 percent of Egypt’s population of nearly 83 million people.
The country’s Coptic Christians and Muslims have clashed on several occasions since the revolution that toppled the former president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.
Around 50 Christians and several Muslims have been killed in the clashes.