Protesters led by hardline Islamists in southern Egypt held their ground Monday, saying they won’t end their campaign of civil disobedience until the government removes a newly appointed Coptic Christian governor.

The protesters, many from the ultraconservative Salafi trend of Islam, have been sitting on train tracks, taken over government buildings and blocked main roads in the southern city of Qena, insisting the new governor won’t properly implement Islamic law.

Attempts by the newly appointed interior minister, who hails from the same area, to defuse the crisis were rebuffed and protesters insisted their sit-in, which began Friday, would continue.

Since the Feb. 11 ousting of President Hosni Mubarak in popular protests, Islamist groups have have been flexing their muscles and are vowing to take a more active political role as Egypt is still drawing its transition to democracy.

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