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Egyptian Finance Minister resigns over violence

Egypt's Finance Minister resigned yesterday in protest over the government's handling of demonstrations that left 25 dead, most of them Coptic Christians.

The resignation of Hazem El-Beblawi, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister, is the first by a senior government official following the deadly clashes on Sunday night in which a peaceful protest by Christians demonstrating over an attack on a church by Muslims turned violent.

The resignation came after 20,000 Egyptians chanted overnight against the ruling military council during a funeral procession for 17 Christian protesters killed during the chaotic night. Mourners packed the Coptic Christian Cathedral in Cairo just before midnight on Monday, filling hallways and corridors as funeral prayers were led by top assistants to Pope Shenouda III.

Slogans of "Down with military rule" interrupted the prayers, as many accused the military of bearing primary responsibility for the violence.