Christian governor with Mubarak ties suspended

The Christian Guv`s appointment had sparked protests in restive city of Qena.

Last Updated: Apr 26, 2011, 00:40 AM IST

Cairo: Egypt`s premier suspended a Christian
governor linked to the ousted Mubarak regime after his
appointment sparked protests in restive Qena province, state
news agency MENA reported on Sunday.

Prime Minister Essam Sharaf ordered Emad Mikhail
suspended for three months in a bid to contain anger in Qena,
a region of central Egypt with a history of sectarian clashes,
MENA said.

Mikhail is to replaced temporarily by his deputy, Magued
Abdel Karim, the agency said, adding that the premier called
for calm in Qena and a return to business as usual.

Thousands of angry protesters, both Muslims and Christian
Copts, have rallied in Qena over the past 12 days against the
appointment of Mikhail -- a senior police officer under the
regime of ousted president Hosni Mubarak.

The incidents raised fears of widespread sectarian
unrest, with Egypt`s Coptic minority long complaining of
discrimination, particularly in Qena where Muslim-Christian
ties are fragile.

Egypt`s Christians, who make up 10 per cent of the
80-million population, have been the target of several attacks
and repeatedly accused the authorities of systematic
discrimination.

Bureau Report