Interior ministry tightens security ahead of march for Egypt's 'bearded policeman'

Ahram Online, Friday 17 May 2013

Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim has refused to allow policemen who have grown beards for religious reasons to return to work, despite court ruling in their favour

Interiors Ministry
Interiors Ministry intensifies security on Friday (Photo: Al-Ahram Arabic language news website)

Central Security Forces have formed a security cordon around the interior ministry in downtown Cairo, in preparation for a planned march to the building by Salafist groups on Friday, according to Al-Ahram’s Arabic news website.

The march aims to support the right of policemen who have grown beards, which are associated with conservative Islam, to return to work.

Bearded policemen started appearing after the 2011 uprising, in violation of the interior ministry’s code of conduct which requires policemen to shave their beards.

The men were suspended from duties.

On 20 February, Egypt's administrative court said the policemen should be allowed to return to work.

However, despite the court ruling, Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim has refused to allow the men to resume their duties.

On 1 March, dozens of protesters gathered at Abdeen Palace in Cairo to demand action for the suspended policemen.  

Interior ministry officials have argued that they do not have the authority to implement the court ruling and would require instruction from the president.

In nearby Tahrir Square, a rally of several hundred is taking place in support of the ‘Rebel’ campaign which calls on President Mohamed Morsi to step down. 

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