Egypt police storm govt building as thousands strike

AFP, Tuesday 25 Oct 2011

Protesting policemen in Red Sea city of Hurghada storm security headquarters as around 30,000 low-ranking policemen around Egypt hold sit-ins for the second consecutive day

Egyptian policemen on Tuesday stormed a security building, as thousands went on strike nationwide to demand the "cleansing" of their institution and better pay, a security official told AFP.

Hundreds of policemen stormed the security headquarters in the Red Sea city of Hurghada, forcing officials to smuggle the chief of Hurghada security out through a back door, the official said.

Around 3,000 are protesting for a second day outside the interior ministry headquarters in Cairo and thousands more are staging pickets outside police stations around the country.

At least 30,000 low-ranking policemen across the country have declared an open-ended strike to demand better pay and to rid the interior ministry of remnants of ousted president Hosni Mubarak's regime.

The policemen have vowed to continue protesting until their demands are met, the official said. Egypt has around 350,000 police.

Police disappeared from the streets at the start of the uprising that toppled Mubarak, and have since made a partial come back.

Police abuse was a driving force behind the January revolt.

The strike comes amid a wave of industrial action that has crippled the country since Mubarak's ouster in February.

Workers in public transport, factories and universities, air freight and other sectors have staged pickets across the country demanding better pay, and to purge sectors of top management associated with the former regime.

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