Egyptian Police Officers Protest Against Politicization

Hundreds of Egyptian policemen staged protests across the country and refused orders to work over what they say is the politicization of the force.

In upper Egypt’s Menya province, officers demonstrated after what they said were attempts to have them favor the Muslim Brotherhood party, which backed President Mohamed Mursi’s election last year. They called for the dismissal of the minister of the interior and the purging of corruption within the ministry.

“Minister leave, we want change,” state-run Ahram gate cited them as chanting.

Members of Central Security Forces in the city of Mansoura refused to work for a third day, the state-run Middle East News agency reported. Around 8,000 officers and recruits across 34 Central Security Forces (CSF) camps in Sinai and the Suez Canal joined the strike yesterday, protesting against what they describe as “inhumane and degrading” working conditions, state-run Ahram Online said.

The police protests follow a week of violence in Port Said, where at least two policemen were killed and hundreds injured during clashes with protesters. Unrest has persisted across Egypt since the 2011 uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak, adding to the president’s challenges in reviving a battered economy.

State security officers refused to protect Mohamed Mursi’s residence in the Nile Delta city of Zagazig, the president’s hometown, demanding that they be armed while on duty and threatened to call a strike across the city tomorrow, Ahram Online said.

In response, the Interior Ministry said it’s “objective” and stands “at equal distance from all political parties and forces”, in an e-mailed statement today.

While Mursi and his Islamist supporters say parliamentary elections starting next month will help restore stability, the broadest opposition bloc, the National Salvation Front, has refused to take part.

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