Cairo, Oct 11: Egypt's deputy prime minister today quit in protest against the way the military-led government handled the sectarian violence that claimed at least 25 lives in clashes between Coptic Christians, Muslims and the security forces here.
Hazem el-Beblawi, also the finance minister, said despite the “fact that there might not be direct responsibility on the government's part, responsibility lies, ultimately, with the government”.
“The current circumstances are very difficult and require a new and different way of thinking and working,” he was quoted as saying by state news agency MENA.
The resignation comes after at least 25 people, including three soldiers, were killed in deadly clashes between Christians, Muslims and security forces in the Egyptian capital on Sunday night, the worst unrest since the uprising that toppled the Mubarak regime.
The violence erupted after Coptic Christians protesting against an attack on a church in Aswan clashed with security forces, forcing authorities to declare curfew in Cairo's iconic Tahrir Square area.
The resignation of el-Beblawi comes as ruling military council has ordered a probe into the violence and Coptic Christian community launching a three-day fast to mourn those killed.
Copts comprise almost 10 per cent of the population in Egypt and is considered the largest Christian community in North Africa.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) governs the country after a popular movement forced President Hosni Mubarak to step down in February. PTI