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Last Updated: Saturday, May 14, 2011, 00:08
Cairo: Egyptians rallied in thousands in a mass show of unity at the iconic Tahrir Square on Friday, a week after Muslim-Christian violence killed 15 people, and also used the occasion to show solidarity with the Palestinians.

Activists had called for the Friday gathering after the sectarian violence disrupted peace in the country.

The mass gathering came as the woman who had indirectly sparked the dispute was arrested and charged with polyandry.

26-year-old Abeer Talaat Fakhry was living with her Christian husband in the southern city of Assiut when she ran away from home, converted to Islam and informally married a Muslim man called Yassin Thabet, Al Jazeera said.

Violence had erupted after the issue led to confusion and rumours that she was being held in a church against her will. Muslims surrounded the church and demanded that she be released.

The violence was been blamed on Salafists, members of a hardline, puritanical Islamic movement.

The Friday gathering today aimed to condemn the violence and showcase unity among Egyptians.

"If you attack a Christian, you're attacking all Egyptians," said a man speaking at the Square.

Many of those gathered had come to show their support for Palestinian unity ahead of "Nakba day" marking the creation of the state of Israel and displacement of thousands of Palestinians.

Demonstrators celebrated the reconciliation deal signed recently between Hamas, Fatah and other Palestinian factions.

People waved Palestinian flags and banners with slogans for Egyptian national unity.

Meanwhile, a few hundred Coptic Christians also demonstrated outside the state television headquarters, calling for justice over the weekend's sectarian violence.


First Published: Saturday, May 14, 2011, 00:08

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