Egypt’s main opposition umbrella group the National Salvation Front (NSF), joined by the National Association of Change political group and the Lawyers Syndicate, have announced their rejection of attempts by Islamist groups to form parallel security bodies to perform domestic policing outside the authority of the interior ministry.
The joint statement, which was announced in the city of Suez on Friday, comes in response to a call made by Abbas Abdel-Aziz, Egypt’s Shura Council representative of Suez from the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, earlier in the week; Abdel-Aziz called for the establishment of a security body accountable to the presidency, not the interior ministry, to carry out policing duties.
“Establishing alternative security bodies a part from the police is against both the constitution and the law,” Helmi Morsi, deputy of the Lawyers Syndicate in Suez told Al-Ahram Arabic-language news website.
The Egyptian canal city of Suez has seen intermittent violent clashes since the second anniversary of the 25 January uprising.
The Islamist group Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya deployed some of its younger members in the streets of the Upper Egyptian city of Assiut last week, claiming that it is in an attempt to ‘maintain security’ in the city, amid police strikes.
Hundreds of police officers and soldiers in Cairo and in several Egyptian governorates went on strike on Wednesday, demanding an end of the perceived ‘Brotherhoodisation’ of the interior ministry and the dismissal of Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim, who was appointed by President Morsi in January.
Police officers also demand to be armed in order to defend themselves from what they allegedly described as ‘armed thugs.’
The country still suffers a security vacuum after over two years since the 25 January uprising, as critics say no serious police reforms have been thought out or implemented by the interior ministry.