Striking Egypt police close security HQs in Ismailia, Kafr Al-Sheikh

Ahram Online, Sunday 28 Apr 2013

Security personnel and low-ranking officers in Egypt's Ismailia and Kafr El-Sheikh go on strike to demand adequate weapons, dismissal of interior minister

A police strike on Sunday closed security directorates in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia and Upper Egypt's Kafr Al-Sheikh.

Dozens of security personnel and low-ranking officers in Ismailia protested against "deteriorating living standards and inadequate weapons."

They also called for Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim to resign, according to Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website.

"There are attempts to convince colleagues to abandon the strike and mediators are being used to convince them not to halt work," said Saad Fadel, who represents security personnel and low-ranking officers in Ismailia.

"Our demands are being implemented gradually, in accordance with the interior ministry's capabilities and resources. But police still lack modern weapons," he added.

Meanwhile, military officials are paying visits – planned before the strike – to Ismailia's security directorate.

The interior ministry has seen a series of strikes and protests by police officers who demand better weapons and better working conditions and who resent being dragged into political conflicts.

On 8 March, more than 30 police stations across Egypt shut their doors to protest the policies of Egypt's interior ministry.

Their demands included an end of the perceived 'Brotherhoodisation' of the interior ministry and the dismissal of the interior minister, who was appointed by President Mohamed Morsi in January.

Protesting 'Brotherhoodisation'

In Kafr Al-Sheikh in Upper Egypt, meanwhile, dozens of police personnel closed the gates of the local security directorate and hung banners calling for the sacking of the interior minister.

Protesters, who prevented other directorate employees from entering the building, voiced opposition to what they describe as the "Brotherhoodisation" of the interior ministry, state news agency MENA reported.

Ibrahim is accused of being loyal to the Muslim Brotherhood, the group from which President Morsi hails.

Some of the protesters' placards expressed support for Egypt's judiciary in its current political tug-of-war with the presidency.

The Brotherhood and other Islamist parties and groups have been calling for a "purge" of the judiciary from Mubarak-era elements through the ratification of a new judicial authority law. The proposed legislation would reduce the retirement age for judges from 70 to 60.

Many judges oppose implementation of the law.

Critics argue that the real purpose of the law is the Brotherhoodisation of the judicial system by introducing Brotherhood-loyal judges to replace roughly 3,500 Mubarak-era judges that the new law would force into retirement.

Ali Badawy, who represents the protesters, said the strike would continue until their demands were met.

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