Nine Egyptian Christians who were arrested after a peaceful protest have been released.
They were among around 70 people protesting against the refusal so far of the Egyptian authorities to grant permission for the rebuilding of a church in Ezbet Faragallah village, Minya governorate, Upper Egypt.
It does not appear that permission for the rebuilding has yet been granted.
The nine were released on Sunday 24 April, the day on which most Egyptian Christians celebrated Easter Sunday.
The church building was the only place of worship for around 800 Christians in Ezbet Faragallah. It was almost completely destroyed in a 2016 fire, which occurred in unconfirmed circumstances.
The church – which had been granted legal status in 2011 – successfully applied for a demolition permit in 2021, which was implemented in July of that year.
The church then applied to Minya governorate for permission to re-construct the building, but that permission has yet to be granted.
Since the repeal in 2016 of Ottoman-era restrictions on the construction of church buildings an Egyptian Cabinet committee has granted licences to 2,401 churches out of 3,730 applicants.
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