Thousands of people protested outside a major Coptic Christian church in the city of Alexandria, Egypt on Friday over a drama that was allegedly offensive to Islam.
According to the latest report by Agence France-Presse (AFP), at least three people have been killed during the violent clashes between the police and the angry crowd as tension between Muslims and Christians was rekindled.
One of the victims, Mohammad Zakariya, died late on Friday of his injuries in hospital, the interior ministry told AFP Saturday. According to a police official, Zakariya had inhaled tear gas and had been trampled on. Two others died shortly after midnight after the police opened fire on the crowd with rubber bullets. Meanwhile, about 20 policemen and 60 protestors were wounded, one police car and six other vehicles were burned in the clashes and 53 protestors had been arrested, the interior ministry added.
Security sources said more than 2,000 protesters, most of them believed to be Muslims, took to the streets of Alexandria in Friday evening after the prayer for breaking Ramadan fast, according to the United Press International (UPI).
The crowd was reportedly shouting "Allah Akbar" (God is great) as it marched on St. George (Saint Girgis) Coptic Church in the city center. They claimed a drama produced by the Church was blasphemous, Reuters reported.
As the protesters hurled stones to the church and smashed the windows, the police attempted to disperse them by using tear gas. Many suffered from choking injuries but were not serious, security sources told Reuters.