Police strikes against Egypt's interior ministry escalate nationwide

Ahram Online, Friday 8 Mar 2013

More police stations join ongoing protest against Egypt's interior ministry to demand halt of alleged 'Brotherhoodisation' of ministry and dismissal of Morsi-appointed minister

Police officers
Striking police officers picket outside the Dokki police station in Cairo on Friday (Photo: AO)

More than 30 police stations across Egypt reportedly shut their doors on Friday to protest the policies of Egypt's interior ministry.

Police stations in Maadi, Helwan and Giza, along with other stations throughout the capital, have been among those to join the protest.

Police strikes have also been reported in Egypt's governorates, including Luxor, Gharbiya, Assiut, North Sinai, Damietta, Mansoura, Port Said and Mahalla Al-Kobra.

In Cairo's Dokki district, dozens of police officers demonstrated in front of the local police station, shouting, "Down with the interior ministry; Down with the Muslim Brotherhood's ministry."

In the Nile Delta city of Tanta, meanwhile, anti-government rioters surrounded the city's central police station, which at one point they attempted to storm.

A mid-ranking police officer in Cairo's upscale Zamalek district on Friday told Ahram Online that he expected all police stations countrywide to join Saturday's strike if their demands were not met by the end of the day.

Those demands include an end of the perceived 'Brotherhoodisation' of the interior ministry and the dismissal of Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim, who was appointed by President Mohamed Morsi in January.

Police officers are also demanding that they be armed in order to defend themselves from what they describe as 'armed thugs.'

One security official, however, told Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website that police were still securing the headquarters of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood – the group from which President Morsi hails – in Cairo's Moqattam district. According to the official, "unknown individuals" had repeatedly threatened to torch the building.

On Thursday, Egyptian security officers had declared their refusal to protect Morsi's personal residence in the Nile Delta city of Zagazig, the president's hometown.

The officer, who asked not to be named, said that numerous policemen had been killed in clashes with violent protesters since Egypt's January 2011 revolution.

He went on to claim that anti-government demonstrators were no longer limiting themselves to the use of Molotov cocktails, but were now also using live ammunition.

Another police officer, who spoke to Ahram Online on condition of anonymity, said that police officers were "simply fed up" with the current situation.

"Police are being beaten, killed, injured and detained every day," he said. "It has reached the point where they feel their lives are in danger."

The officer added that many policemen "don't know how to deal" with increasingly frequent clashes with anti-government protesters.

"If police interfere, they are criticised; if they don't interfere, they are criticised," he said. "Police don't know what to do anymore and have started hating their job."

However, speaking on the ONTV satellite channel on Thursday, renowned Egyptian political analyst and sociologist Ammar Ali Hassan cited two related reasons for the current police protest.

The first, he said, was the inability of police to quell ongoing anti-government protests, while the second was the "psychological vendetta" that police have waged for the last two years "against the revolution and people."

Meanwhile, the Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim on Friday sacked the commander of the Central Security Forces (CSF) General Maged Nouh in an apparent move to calm down angry officers.

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