Jamaa Islamiya spokesman Tarek El-Zomor (Photo:Reuters)
The media consultant of Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya's political arm, the Building and Development Party (BDP), denied Saturday his party is planning to replace the police with its popular committees, explaining that instead they are planning to cooperate with the Ministry of Interior in maintaining security through volunteers.
Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya had announced Friday plans to establish "security militias" to protect the Upper Egypt city of Assiut if the Egyptian police — large numbers of whom have gone on strike — failed to return to work.
El-Sherif went on to explain his party's controversial Friday statements, saying the party only wishes to better the relation between the people and the police, rebuilding mutual trust, while changing police philosophy to one that respects human rights.
Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya also called for bettering the working conditions of the police to provide them with the necessary social services to to conduct their work properly.
"We call on the police to meet their duty in protecting state institutions and not to give up the country's security and stability in such critical times," El-Sherif said, adding that the police abandoning its duties would only serve the counterrevolution.
El-Sherif complained that the police should not make people choose between torture or a lack of security. "We reject both," he insisted.
"We demand the restructuring of the police, maintaining that the police remains the only security apparatus protecting citizens," El-Sherif said.
Meanwhile, the BDP in Minya together with the Salafist El-Nour Party again announced Saturday, via Facebook, that they will form "popular committees" to protect citizens if the police continue to strike.
Egypt's police have been staging nationwide strikes since Tuesday. Their demands were first voiced in the canal city of Ismailia when security forces refused to be deployed in the city of Port Said where clashes over recent weeks have left hundreds injured and at least five killed, including security officers.
Later on Wednesday, around 8,000 police officers and recruits across 34 Central Security Forces camps in Sinai and the Suez Canal area joined the strike call.
On Friday, an interior ministry official told Ahram Online that at least 60 police stations joined the ongoing strike in several governorates, includeing Cairo, Luxor, Gharbiya, Assiut, Menoufia, Damietta, Mansoura, Sinai and Mahalla Al-Kobra.
The biggest insurrection of CSF conscripts in Egypt's recent past occurred 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 rebel officers.