Egyptian police ban popular security committees

Ahram Online, Sunday 18 Aug 2013

Interior ministry urges Egyptians not to take to the streets to protect their neighbourhoods and instead to observe the curfew

Egypt’s interior ministry has banned the formation of informal security committees set up by Egyptians during the current unrest to protect their neighbourhoods, reported Ahram’s Arabic news website.

The decision was taken to protect citizens from illegal practices sometimes committed by the committees. The ministry also urged Egyptians to observe the nighttime curfew, in effect since the police dispersed Muslim Brotherhood-led sit-ins on Wednesday.

Cases of theft by popular committees have been reported since Wednesday, when the violent crackdown on the sit-ins led to nationwide clashes between police and supporters of ousted Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi.

Egypt’s anti-Morsi Rebel movement had called on Egyptians to form the committees last week. The call was aired on Egyptian state television.

Popular committees were widely seen during January and February 2011 in the days leading up to Hosni Mubarak’s ouster, after police forces withdrew from city streets.

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