Tuesday’s papers: Copts continue nationwide protest amid calls for national unity

Egyptian newspapers feature front-page headlines on ongoing protests by Coptic Christians across the country. Copts and Muslims sympathetic to their cause have been protesting against the Alexandria church bombing since its occurrence on New Year’s Eve when an explosion claimed the lives of 21 and injured 79 others. In the state-owned Al-Ahram, a headline reads: "Protests demand haste in apprehending culprits… while others reaffirm [national] unity and the defeat of terrorism." In the independent daily Al-Shorouk, the headline reads: "Angry Coptic protests extend from Alexandria to Aswan."

In the opposition Al-Ahrar, the chief headline reads: "The anger." Sub-headlines read: "Protesters denouncing attack on Alexandria church take to streets and universities" and "Road traffic halted in Giza… Protesters lie across road to block off 26th July Highway." Another headline, pertaining to protests and clashes taking place outside a Coptic cathedral in Abbasiya, reads: "29 injured, including 4 police officers in cathedral protest."

Another story belonging to the same paper, with the headline “Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif relocates his meetings due to protests," mentions that Nazif moved his meetings, which were to take place at the Council of Ministers, to a satellite city just outside Cairo in order to avoid being disturbed by protests in Downtown Cairo. 

The chief headline in the independent daily Al-Dostour reads: "8000 Muslims join initiative dubbed 'We will go to churches and die with them.'" The article mentions that thousands of Egyptian Muslims are volunteering–on Facebook–to serve as human shields inside and outside churches during Coptic Christmas on January 7 in preparation for other church attacks during prayer services this holiday. Another headline reads: "New website promises a continuation of terror acts in Egypt." The article mentions that a website entitled Shabaket Shmoukh al-Islam (The Glory of Islam Network) includes posts that pledge continued attacks against Egypt's Christians, churches, and government.

In the liberal opposition Al-Wafd a large headline in red warns: "Beware of strife." Another chief headline reads: "3 days of popular mourning for the country's martyrs." Sub-headlines read: "Popular conference for confronting terrorism at Al-Wafd headquarters on 13 January." The opposition party hopes to establish a "national authority promoting a culture of citizenship, defense of civil liberties, and the preservation of national unity."

Also in Al-Wafd, the front page headline reads: "Coptic protesters clash with police in Cairo… Tens injured on both sides" and "Protesters hurl stones at cars of ministers attempting to enter the Cathedral to express condolences." This article deals with the clashes taking place outside the Coptic Cathedral on Sunday.

Al-Shorouk’s chief headline pertains to the explosive device that was detonated outside a Alexandria church: "Testimonies of policemen affirm theory of car bomb." The sub-header reads: "Police officer entrusted with guarding church verifies two explosions with a five minute interval between them," and "25 individuals provide descriptions of suspected perpetrator."

In other news, Al-Ahram highlights Tuesday's partial solar eclipse: "Today the sun is eclipsed… so beware." According to the article, the solar eclipse is expected to take place between the hours of 9 AM and noon, with the eclipse being most clearly visible in Cairo. The moon is expected to cover 55 percent of the solar disc and its rays. The eclipse will be visible to differing degrees across Egypt. The article says that upcoming eclipses will take place in 2012, 2015 and 2020.

Egypt's papers:

Al-Ahram: Daily, state-run, largest distribution in Egypt

Al-Akhbar: Daily, state-run, second to Al-Ahram in institutional size

Al-Gomhorriya: Daily, state-run

Rose al-Youssef: Daily, state-run, close to the National Democratic Party's Policies Secretariat

Al-Dostour: Daily, privately owned

Al-Shorouk: Daily, privately owned

Al-Wafd: Daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party

Al-Arabi: Weekly, published by the Arab Nasserist party

Youm7: Weekly, privately owned

Sawt al-Umma: Weekly, privately owned

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