Egyptian armed forces remove wall around monastery in Beheira

The Egyptian military said on Wednesday that it had removed a wall built around a Coptic Christian monastery in Egypt's Beheira Governorate that had been built without official approval.

According to Coptic websites, soldiers fired into the air to disperse monks and monastery workers.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which has governed the country since the 11 February ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak, said on its official page on social-networking website Facebook that soldiers had removed "some walls that had been illegally built on the road and on land owned by the state."

The SCAF denied claims that the armed forces had been in involved in attacks on the monastery or that it had any intention to demolish the building due to its “belief in freedom and the sanctity of places of worship."

The SCAF had previously issued a strongly-worded warning to groups involved in illegal practices, stressing that these groups would be dealt with firmly to "fully eliminate this phenomenon."

Egypt's Coptic Christians have long complained about a law that requires them to obtain state approval for any construction or additions to churches or monasteries.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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