Cairo (AsiaNews) - Thousands of police across Egypt are protesting against the policies of President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. According to the protest spokesman the Islamists are politicizing the security forces by replacing high level officers with people loyal to them. Beginning on March 4 in Cairo, the strike, especially low-grade officers, has spread throughout the country and has collected thousands of supporters in a few days. Today, clashes in are feared Port Said, where due to the police strike violence over the verdict against the perpetrators of the local stadium massacre that killed 79 people may explode.
Fr. Rafic Greiche, spokesman for the Egyptian Catholic Church, argues that "the police need to defend the people, not a political party, as the Muslim Brotherhood want." For the priest, the police do not want to go against the people or be seen as servants of power. "More and more people are growing to dislike the Islamists - adds Greiche - in recent months they have shown their ineptitude and inexperience in governing the country."
For decades, the Mubarak government controlled the police forces responsible for many arrests of leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists. After coming to power in 2012 the extremists in turn are using the agents for their own purposes. On more than one occasion, officials affiliated with the Brotherhood have given orders to charge unarmed demonstrators, causing bloodshed, only to intimidate the population and avoid an increase in dissent.
In Cairo, dozens of police blocked the entrance to one of the last major police stations in the city, shouting slogans against President Morsi. Others have organized a sit-in in front of the residence of the Muslim leader in his home town of Zagazig, north-east of the capital.
Protests and sit-ins have also taken place in Assiut and Luxor, south of Cairo, where agents are contesting the new Minister of the Interior Ahmed Gamal, accused of using the police to protect members of his party. His predecessor, Mohammad Ebrahim was forced to resign in August because he refused to use force against protesters during anti-Islamist protests that erupted in late August and continued through September. Local sources claim that the officials of the Islamist movement are angry with the police in recent months for not sufficiently protecting the headquarters of the Justice and Freedom Party repeatedly attacked and set on fire during the protests. Abdel Maged, leader of Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya announced yesterday that they will move to ensure safety to the citizens of Assiut, providing their own militias. However, a government official responded that no one but the police can enforce security. (S.C.)