A brawl between Israeli police and Coptic priests at a Christian shrine in Jerusalem on Wednesday resulted in condemnation from Egypt and churches in the Holy Land
Police and Coptic priests quarreled in front of a contested chapel in the church of the saint Sepulcher in Jerusalem, where many Christians believe that Jesus was crucified, buried and risen.
The Copts protested against the commencement of restoration work by the Israeli Antiquities Authority in the Archangel Michael Chapel, claiming both the Ethiopian and the Egyptian Orthodox Church
The Church of the Holy Sepulcher in the Old City of Jerusalem is being built by shared by several Christian denominations. A long-standing status quo governs the ownership and administration of the sacred sites of sects. Each group protects their territory in the strongest terms, and even perceived changes in the status quo have led to arguments or violence.
The Antiquities Authority was supposed to carry out repairs after a stone collapsed in the chapel in September 201
Mazen Qupty, an attorney for the Coptic Church, said one priest had been imprisoned for a short time and several were detained suffered injuries
An umbrella group of churches in the Holy Land issued a statement condemning the use of police force against the priests. The Orthodox Coptic Patriarchate filed a complaint with the Israeli Ministry of Justice, and the Copts were planning to protest the police action over the next few days.
"While condemning police officers' actions against Coptic monks, we demand that the Israeli authorities … hold the aforementioned police officers accountable and respect the people's fundamental rights to freedom of expression and demonstration," said Wadie Abunassar , Adviser to Church Leaders in the Holy Land, in a Statement  Egypt's Foreign Ministry expressed a "total disapproval" of Israeli police violence and said it "closely monitors the situation".
The Israeli Foreign Ministry and Antiquities Authority declined to comment.