Egyptian Christians have clashed with military police, leaving at least 24 people dead and dozens injured.
Violence erupted after a protest in Cairo against an attack on a church in Aswan province last week. Coptic Christians blame Muslims for the incident and accuse police of failing to protect Christian interests.
After the worst violence since the ousting of President Mubarak, Egypt’s prime minister appeared on state-run television.
Prime Minister Essam Sharaf said “The biggest danger that could hurt the security of the nation is to provoke problems between Muslims and Christians or to provoke problems between the people and the army. This gives our enemies an opportunity to break and to split our nation. These are their aims, but we will not surrender to these vicious conspiracies.”
While the army imposed a curfew on Tahrir Square, elsewhere the rioting continued with Christians later fighting with Muslims in front of Cairo’s Coptic Hospital. There was also unrest in the city of Alexandria.
Egypt’s cabinet is to hold an emergency meeting today.