Fearing Salafist rally, security forces surround Cairo police station
Security is stepped up outside Dokki Police Station after followers of Salafist preacher Hazem Abu-Ismail threaten demonstrations to demand interior minister's removal
, Sunday 16 Dec 2012
Central Security Forces and anti-riot police moved in to secure Dokki Square in Cairo's Dokki district from planned protests by followers of Salafist preacher Hazem Abu-Ismail and a possible protest march on the Dokki Police Station.
Security forces and armoured vehicles surrounded the police station and deployed in adjacent streets following rumours that Abu-Ismail's supporters – known as 'Hazmoun' – were planning to march on the police station at 7pm local time.
Abu-Ismail has demanded the dismissal of Interior Minister Ahmed Gamal Eddin after the latter issued a warrant for the arrest of several of the preacher's supporters, who have been accused of Saturday's attack on the liberal Wafd Party's Cairo headquarters.
On Saturday night, hundreds of Hazemoun reportedly attacked the party's main offices, along with the nearby headquarters of Egypt's Popular Current political coalition. Abu-Ismail's supporters accuse both groups – the Wafd Party and the Popular Current – of involvement in an alleged attack on Islamist preacher Sheikh Mahalawy in Alexandria.
On Saturday, Abu-Ismail instructed supporters to stage protests outside the Dokki Police Station to demand the interior minister's dismissal. On Sunday, however, the Salafist leader declared on his official Facebook page that neither he nor his supporters would head to the police station – or any other official institution – so as to avoid continued political turbulence.
At 7:30pm local time, Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website reported that all of Abu-Ismail's followers had left the vicinity around the police station without incident.