Police in Ismailia refuse deployment to Port Said

Ahram Online , Wednesday 6 Mar 2013

Ismailia police refuse orders to deploy in Port Said, say strike action will continue until interior minister hears their demands

Police and low-ranking officers at a Central Security Forces (CSF) camp in Ismailia went on strike on Tuesday and refused to deploy to Port Said.

Intermittent clashes and riots have taken place in Port Said since 26 January when a court sentenced 21 local football fans to death for their role in the Port Said Stadium disaster, which killed over 70 fans of Ahly football club in February 2012.

The strikers have refused to obey orders from Ismailia's deputy head of security and said their action will continue until the interior minister arrives to hear their complaints and demands.

Among their demands is for police to armed, something that has also been requested by police in other governorates.

A security source, who wished to remain anonymous, told Al-Ahram Arabic news website that the strike was sparked by Tuesday's three-year jail sentence imposed on First Lieutenant Mahmoud El-Shinnawy.

El-Shinnawy – the so-called 'eye sniper' – was convicted of attempted murder for firing birdshots at protesters' eyes during the Mohamed Mahmoud Street clashes in November 2011, which left at least 40 dead.

Moreover, the source added, the strikers were concerned by the detention and investigation into the driver of a police vehicle that ran over and killed a civilian in Mansoura during clashes between police and protesters on Saturday.

Riots in Port Said have left over 40 dead, including 5 policemen and low-ranking officers, since 26 January.

“The situation is very dangerous and might spread to neighbouring CSF camps in Ismailia," the source said. "Especially dangerous is the idea that police might refuse to participate in future confrontations with political protesters.”

On Sunday, police in Sinai held a protest to demand weapons and condemn 'inhumane and degrading' working conditions.

On Monday, the interior ministry released a statement claiming unidentified individuals were shooting randomly at police and soldiers in Port Said.

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