Egyptian police strike against interior ministry policies

Ahram Online, Wednesday 6 Mar 2013

Police officers go on strike across Egypt, blame interior minister for worsening relations between police and the people

Egyptian riot police
Egyptian riot police stand guard during clashes near the state security building in Port Said, Egypt (Photo: Reuters)

Around 8,000 police officers and recruits across 34 Central Security Forces (CSF) camps in Sinai and the Suez Canal joined strike calls Wednesday.

In Sinai, dozens of security personnel across different directorates are protesting against what they describe as "inhumane and degrading" working conditions. They also demand to be armed so they can defend themselves while on duty.

Hundreds of officers at three CSF camps in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura in Daqahlia governorate (located northeast of Cairo) are on strike for the second consecutive day.

They are calling for the dismissal of Egypt's interior minister, Mohamed Ibrahim, enraged over what they see as being inserted into political and "settling scores" issues. Security personnel argue that the minister is to blame for the failing relationship between the people and the police.

They also condemned the detention of a colleague accused of killing protester Hossam Abdel-Azim by running him over in a CSF vehicle last Saturday during clashes in Mansoura.

In Ismailia, however, striking security personnel called off a strike they started Tuesday after presenting their demands to be submitted to the interior minister.

On Tuesday, striking officers refused to deploy in Port Said, refusing to be brought "into direct confrontation with the people."

Some 2,000 security personnel went on strike in the canal city Tuesday to condemn the interior minister's polices, which they blame for growing hostility from the people.

The biggest insurrection of CSF conscripts in Egypt's recent past occured in 1986. Tens of thousands of officers went on a rampage when rumours circulated that their three-year service would be prolonged by an additional year. Thousands were left dead in the riots after the army was deployed and ordered to fire on the rebelling officers.

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