EGYPT. 19 August 2003. The police officers who were this morning surrounding the Coptic Orthodox
Monastery of St Anthony's on the Red Sea coast have withdrawn following the intervention of President Mubarak's office according to information received by Barnabas Fund.
Some 200 - 300 police officers equipped with 14 bulldozers had closed and blockaded the roads outside the monastery, which is situated in a mountainous region of Egypt's Red Sea coast. Monks from the monastery were protesting outside the building trying desperately to protect their home.
The police officers were acting on orders from the Red Sea Governorate in Hurghada. The crisis had arisen because the local governorate claims the walls of the monastery have been constructed illegally and has issued the police with orders to destroy them. However, official permission to construct the walls was obtained in 1992 and they were built some 4 - 5 years ago.