Egypt’s riot police chief sacked amid nationwide security force protests

8174egypt police chief strikes Egypt’s riot police chief sacked amid nationwide security force protests

Egyptian Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim has appointed a newcommander for the Central Security Forces, according to MENA newsagency.The sacking took place after “widespread protests in several CSFdepartments over the past 48 hours demanding that policemen beremoved from political conflicts,” MENA reported.More than 30 police stations across the country reportedly shuttheir doors on Friday in the fifth day of strikes against theinterior ministry, Ahram Online reported. A mid-ranking Cairopolice officer said that he expected all police stations to joinSaturday’s strike if their demands were not met by the end of theday, Friday.On Thursday, dozens of Cairo policemen blocked the entrance to oneof the city’s main police stations and spoke out against PresidentMorsi’s policies. Others arranged a sit-in outside Morsi’s house inhis hometown of Zagazig.Meanwhile, a police strike in Egypt’s Assuit province has promptedformer Islamic militant group Gamaa Islamiya to send its membersout to patrol the streets. It said it was assembling volunteermembers to act as police.Assiut security chief Gen. Aboul-Kassem Deif has acknowledged thegroup’s move is illegal, but feels the province has no otheroption. “I don’t know what to do,” he told AP.Those demands include ending what they call the politicization ofthe police force in favor of President Mohamed Morsi’s MuslimBrotherhood party and dismissal of Interior Minister MohamedIbrahim, who was appointed by Morsi in January. Officers are alsodemanding they be armed to protect themselves against protesterswho they describe as “armed thugs.”Policemen are angry that they can be tried in military courtsand complain that current laws do not protect them when they carryout their duties. They’re speaking out against being forced toconfront anti-Brotherhood protesters.However, the police force has been accused by rights activistsof employing brutal tactics during the uprising. More than 100policemen have been put on trial for the killings of protesters,and all but two were acquitted.There has been widespread tension between police anddemonstrators since the mass protests which brought down formerPresident Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.Accusations of torture from police officers continue to emerge,and more than 70 people have been killed in nationwide protestssince January. Rights groups allege that police are still operatingwith impunity.The latest violence in the city of Port Said has led to theremoval of officers from its streets. It comes after thousands ofdemonstrators called for the departure of police forces on Friday.The Egyptian military has taken over security duties in thecity.According to the interior ministry, police were withdrawn fromthe streets to “calm the tension.” The news was met withcelebrations from demonstrators – many of whom stood on tanks andchanted in support of the military.Clashes between police and protesters in Port Said have enteredtheir sixth continuous day. At least eight people have been killedin the violence, including three policemen.The sacking of the police chief comes just one day before acourt is due to announce the verdicts of 52 defendants – includingnine police officers – who were involved in deadly football riotsin Port Said last year.Twenty-one football fans were sentenced to death in January overthe riots, which left 74 people dead. The verdict ledto furtherriots, resulting in the lossof an additional 40 civilians. Most were killed during an allegedattempt to storm a prison. The riots prompted a crackdown bysecurity forces, leading many to accuse officers of policebrutality.

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Egypt’s riot police chief sacked amid nationwide security force protests


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