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Anti-Mubarak Protest As Rice Visits

CAIRO (UPI) -- Students at Cairo University demonstrated against President Hosni Mubarak's regime calling for political and democratic reforms.

The protest Tuesday coincided with the arrival in Cairo of U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to discuss Middle East issues and press for Egyptian reforms.

Security sources said some 400 students, mostly belonging to the Egyptian Movement for Change, Kifaya (Enough), and the opposition al-Ghad Party, shouted anti-Mubarak slogans accusing his regime of corruption and rigging last year's general elections in favor of his ruling National Democratic Party.

"Enough corruption... No to forging the will of the people... Yes for the independence of the judicial authorities," shouted the protesters who were barred by hundreds of riot policemen from walking out of the campus into the street.

In another development, Egyptian police arrested 15 people involved in sectarian clashes in the village of Azba Wassef, a few miles south of Cairo.

Police cordoned off the village late Monday night following fighting between Muslims and Christians in which 11 people were injured and three houses were set on fire.

The sources told United Press International that the clashes erupted after a Christian inhabitant built a banquet hall which the Muslim villagers believed was an attempt to build a church.

Under Egyptian law, a special license should be issued to build churches.

Police intervened in the small village and restored calm after arresting the suspects.

Similar sectarian clashes occurred last month near the southern ancient town of Luxor over transforming a house into a church. One person was killed and 11 others were injured in that incident.

Christian Copts make up between 8 and 10 percent of Egypt's mainly Muslim population of 75 million.


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