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Christians Protest Violence In Cairo Demonstration

Christians look at a church that was set on fire during clashes between Muslims and Christians in the heavily populated area of Imbaba in Cairo on May 8.
Hundreds of Egyptians protested violence against the country's Coptic Christian minority on May 9 after Muslim mobs burned a church and sparked riots in Cairo that left 13 people dead.

The clashes erupted on May 7 after ultraconservative Salafist Muslims marched on a church where they believed a woman was being held hostage after converting to Islam.

Protesters on May 9 criticized the interim military rulers for their handling of the weekend violence. Protesters say they fear that some in Egypt seek to replace Mubarak's autocratic rule with an Islamic state that would marginalize Christians.

Authorities arrested 23 more people on May 9, including two accused of sparking the riots.

The U.S. State Department denounced the sectarian violence in Egypt, calling it "abhorrent," and urging restraint as it asked the authorities to conduct a full investigation.

Some 10 percent of Egypt's nearly 80 million people are Christians.

compiled from agency reports