Egypt state security officers protest dismissal of police

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State security officers in the Egyptian city of Ismailia staged a protest yesterday over the dismissal of policemen accused of killing demonstrators during a popular uprising.

The security officers had been assigned to keep order at football matches in the Suez Canal city and in Port Said, at the northern entrance to the canal, but held the protest at their compound instead, security sources said.

It is rare in Egypt for security forces to defy their commanders.

Prime Minister Essam Sharaf said on Saturday he had ordered the interior minister to dismiss all policemen accused of killing demonstrators who massed in January and February leading to the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.

Egyptians have accused the government of failing to bring to justice those responsible for police brutality.
“The dismissal decision shows the judiciary is not respected, because the officers who were dismissed were being tried by the judiciary,” one of the protesting officers said.

The protest was contained after five hours and the officers began making their way to the city stadium, the sources said.

An earlier court decision to release policemen accused of killing demonstrators on bail triggered anti-government demonstrations last week by civilians in the industrial city of Suez at the southern entrance to the canal, where a thousand people blocked a main road to its port yesterday.