Egypt in turmoil
Photo: AP

Egypt: With cops on strike, Islamists will secure streets

Police strike creates security vacuum eagerly filled by radical organizations; despite being armed only with bikes and flags, presence irks President and opposition

The last few days have seen a surge in Egypt's police force's strike, protesting the policies of the Ministry of Interior Affairs and rallying against its handling of the wave of protests that shook the country recently.


As the security vacuum - caused by the closing of police station – increases, so does the presence of radical Islamists, eagerly willing to step up and into the shoes of security officials.


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With members of the radical Al-Gamah Al-Aslamia organization taking command of the streets of the central city of Asyut and the a-Sheik region in the north as well, we see another freighting testimony to the deteriorating state of Egyptian sovereignty.


In a number of videos uploaded to social media networks, members of the radical Islamist organization can be seen in Asyut, riding motorbikes and waving their flags. Some can be seen donning white capes and even vests reminiscent of those worn by Egyptian traffic police, speeding through the city's streets and squares screaming: "Allah Akbar."



Egyptian media has reported that the organization has formed "popular committees for promising security and order in Egypt," however, it seems they are not trying to form armed militias in a desire to openly clash with the state, rather attempting to complement it.


To prove their good intentions, the organization has put into place rigid criteria for acceptance into such committees, and claimed that it is their intention to assist police forces, not replace them.



הקיצונים רוצים לסייע למשטרה או להחליף אותה? (צילום: EPA)

Replacing security officials? (Photo: EPA)


Senior organization official from the Asyut region, Sheik Tark Dir, said that his men cannot abandon the city's residents, and that they are willing to give their lives and blood, sparing no effort, to grant them the security and stability they need.


The group's local branch's secretary general, Sheik Hussein Abed Al-Aal, said the group's men will not bear fire-arms, unless the ministry itself will choose to arm them and integrate them into official state forces.


Nonetheless, the secular opposition is far from pleased, and responded with concern to the latest developments.


A senior official from the April 6 Youth Movement, Muhammad Aadel, said that the street parades are in fact a show of strength for the organization's military wing, which openly battled the state in the 80s.


He also fervently pointed out that the country's new constitution does not permit the forming of new military organization, a right reserved solely for the state.


It seems President Muhammad Morsi's milieu is also displeased with the recent developments.


The paper Al Masry Al Youm, affiliated with the opposition, quoted officials from within the President's Office as saying that the Ministry of Interior Affairs, and only the Ministry, is charged with the task of policing and securing.



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פרסום ראשון: 03.13.13, 17:56
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