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Jerusalem churches denounce Israeli conduct with Coptic priests

Oct. 25, 2018 11:02 A.M. (Updated: Oct. 27, 2018 9:46 A.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Churches in Jerusalem denounced the violent conduct of Israeli police forces with Coptic priests demanding to hold the police officers involved in the assault accountable.

On Wednesday, Israeli forces and police assaulted several Coptic priests in front of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem, and forcefully detained one of them, during a peaceful protest organized by the Coptic Orthodox Church against Israeli interference in renovation work inside the holy site.

It is noteworthy that the Coptic Orthodox Church is the only party authorized and responsible for the renovation in its church and stated that Israeli authorities have no right to interfere in its work.

In a joint press release, churches said that "Contacts were held with many local, regional and international entities on the incident involving misconduct by Israeli policemen towards Christian Coptic monks who were holding a protest near the Church of the Holy Sepulcher at the Old City of Jerusalem."

The press release also stressed that "Photos and video clips published speak for themselves about the force used by some police officers against a number of monks, which we strongly condemn and denounce, especially as the monks demonstrated peacefully and did not assault anyone."

"We particularly deplore the manner in which monk Makarios of Jerusalem was arrested."

The Orthodox Coptic Patriarchate filed an official complaint with the police investigation department in the Israeli Ministry of Justice and plans to hold another protest in the next few days against police conduct.

"While we condemn the actions of the police officers towards Coptic monks, we demand that Israeli authorities to hold accountable the mentioned police officers, and respect the basic rights of the people for freedom of expression and demonstration."

In addition, Egypt condemned the assault by Israeli police forces against Coptic priests outside the Holy Sepulchre Church, in the Old City of East Jerusalem, calling on Israel to respect the holy places in the city and that the Egyptian Foreign Ministry is following developments regarding the assault.

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