Top News: Egypt Police Strike, Want ‘Out of Politics’


Policemen across Egypt staged a strike on Thursday to demand the resignation of the interior minister, saying they no longer wanted to be used as a political tool, security officials said. 


Egypt’s opposition senses chance in election debacle
To Egypt’s opposition, a court ruling throwing the electoral process into limbo offers an opportunity to force Islamist President Mohamed Morsy into compromise as the country heads towards chaos. Leaders of liberal and leftist parties believe the delay to parliamentary elections is a chance to extract concessions on major constitutional issues from Morsy – and possibly to back out of an opposition boycott that may backfire. [Reuters/Egypt Independent, 3/8/2013]

Elections body meets over ruling suspending parliamentary polls
Egypt’s election committee has scrapped a timetable under which voting for the lower house of parliament should have begun next month, state media reported on Thursday, following a court ruling that threw the entire polling process into confusion. An administrative court handed its decision down on Wednesday and ordered the Supreme Constitutional Court to review an amended elections law to ensure it followed the Constitution. Egypt now lies in limbo, with no election dates at a time when uncertainty is taking a heavy toll on the economy – the Egyptian pound is falling, foreign currency reserves are sliding and the budget deficit is soaring to an unmanageable level. [Aswat Masriya, Egypt Independent, 3/8/2013]

Ministry preparing bill for private security companies to help police
The Justice Ministry is preparing a draft law to form private security and money transport companies to help the Interior Ministry, as well as in securing important facilities and people,said Assistant Justice Minister for Legislative Affairs Omar al-Sherif. “The draft would be sent to the Shura Council soon,” Sherif said. Several police stations and central security departments have been on strike since yesterday. [Egypt Independent, 3/7/2013]

Also of Interest:
Al Wasat Party offers solution to ending the current crisis | Ahram (Arabic)
Health Ministry: 1 death, 155 injured in clashes in 3 governorates today | Ahram (Arabic)


Dozens protest release of policeman charged with running over protester
Dozens of people rallied in Talaat Harb Square earlier Thursday to protest the release of Mohamed Saqr, a low-ranking policeman charged with running over a protester, Hossam Abdallah, in Mansoura, on a bail of LE5,000. Saqr was originally ordered detained for a further 15 days pending investigations, but the Daqahlia Security Directorate requested the cancellation of the decision after policemen  and Central Security Forces announced a sit-in inside their camp to protest the decision. The concerned court examined the request and decided to release Saqr on bail. [Egypt Independent, 3/7/2013]

Sources: SCC elections law verdict will delay vote for months
The Supreme Constitutional Court needs at least 60 days to consider the constitutionality of the Shura Council’s amended elections law, court sources said Thursday. Sources who requested anonymity told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the verdict would not be issued soon, even if the court rejects all challenges to the elections law. They added it will take at least 45 days for the SCC to hold a special session where it will consider the law’s provisions and constitutionality, due to court procedures. [Egypt Independent, 3/7/2013]

Mufti’s request for more time could postpone Port Said trial
Egypt’s Grand Mufti said he was unable to reach a decision regarding the proposed death sentences in the Port Said trial, causing a postponing of the verdict scheduled for 9 March. The Egyptian legal system requires a judge to obtain the recommendation of the Grand Mufti before handing out the death penalty. The Port Said massacre case files were handed over to the Fatwa Authority in 26 January but new Grand Mufti Shawky Allam assumed the position officially on Monday 4 March. [DNE, Egypt Independent, Ahram Online, 3/8/2013]


Good news about IMF Egypt loan soon: presidential secretary
Good news with regard to the International Money Fund loan to Egypt will be announced soon, Secretary to the President for Foreign Relations Khaled Qazaz said during a visit to Washington to follow up with the IMF. An Egyptian presidential delegation, headed by the Presidential Assistant for Political Affairs Bakinam al-Sahrqawi, is currently visiting Washington to discuss the IMF loan and the economic program proposed by the Egyptian government. Qazaz said that Mohamed Tawfik, Egypt’s ambassador to the United States, hosted a number of meetings for the delegation. The first was an interfaith dialogue, while the second was a meeting with leading figures of the Egyptian community in America. [Egypt Independent, 3/8/2013]


Egypt police strike, want ‘out of politics’
Policemen across Egypt staged a strike on Thursday to demand the resignation of the interior minister, saying they no longer wanted to be used as a political tool, security officials said. The discontent began weeks ago with isolated pockets of protest, but by Thursday police were on strike in areas of Cairo, Alexandria, the Nile Delta, the Suez Canal provinces, southern provinces and the Sinai peninsula. Central Security forces and police tasked with maintaining security around the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Cairo district of Moqattam withdrew from their positions. The website of state-run newspaper Al-Ahram reported that Ashraf Abdallah, a senior police official with Central Security, met on Thursday with leaders of seven Central Security camps, and agreed to meet with their demands. Al Watan reported an indefinite countrywide police strike to begin tomorrow. [DNE, Egypt Independent, Ahram Online, EGYNews (Arabic), Shorouk (Arabic), AMAY (Arabic), Watan (Arabic), 3/8/2013]

Army takes over Port Said security directorate
In a new development, the police security forces have withdrawn from Port Said including from the security directorate in the city. The commander of the Second Army Zone Brigadier General Mohamed Wassefy went to the security directorate and spoke with the crowd, including the families of the martyrs fallen lately in Port Said. Speaking to the amassed people, Brigadier General Wassefy announced that the police had withdrawn and asked the people to help the army secure and clean the area. Some citizens began to clean around the security directorates where there had been clashes in the past few days while others began cheering for the army. [Ahram Online, AP, EGYNews (Arabic), 3/8/2013]

Also of Interest:
Sources: Ashraf Abdullah to be appointed director of the Central Security succeeding Majid Noah | AMAY (Arabic)
Protesters try to storm Semiramis hotel, smash iron facades | Egypt Independent


Protester killed in Egypt’s Port Said as local truce initiative fails
Clashes between security forces and demonstrators in Port Said Thursday left 35 people injured, including two who sustained injuries from live bullets, Health Ministry Undersecretary Helmy al-Afny said, though the number has since increased to 155. Unrest in the Suez Canal city continued with renewed clashes Thursday evening after a short hiatus, state news agency MENA reported, when an attempt to forge a temporary truce was reportedly made. Members of the family of Karim Atout, 33, who died on Thursday after receiving gunshot to the head in subsequent clashes said that his body will be buried after afternoon prayer, MENA reported on Friday. Atout has become at least the seventh victim of the clashes erupted in Port Said around the Security Directorate where casualties included three police officers.  [Ahram Online, DNE, Egypt Independent

Also of Interest:
Syndicate challenges forensic report on journalist’s death | Egypt Independent
Tahrir Square Friday calm before demonstrations | Egypt Independent


US postpones award for Samira Ibrahim over tweets
The Obama administration is postponing an award for an Egyptian activist who rallied worldwide attention against forced "virginity tests" on female protesters because of anti-American and anti-Semitic comments discovered on her Twitter account. The State Department announced earlier this week that Samira Ibrahim would be among 10 recipients of the International Women of Courage award presented by Secretary of State John Kerry and first lady Michelle Obama on Friday. But State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Thursday the U.S. would hold off on awarding Ibrahim while officials investigate the tweets, which include support for attacks against U.S. diplomatic installations and praise for a terrorist assault against Israeli citizens in Bulgaria. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, DNE, AP, 3/7/2013]

Egypt and EU hold political consultations
The Ministry of Foreign affairs has announced that it hosted “political consultations on planning policies and relations between Egypt and the European Union”. Heading the Egyptian delegation for Thursday’s meeting was Assistant Foreign Minister for European Affairs and Security and Strategic Organisations Affairs Hatem Seif El Nasr. Deputy Secretary General for the External Action Service Helga Schmid headed the EU delegation. According to a statement from the ministry, the two sides discussed “issues related to developments in the Arab Spring countries… the Palestinian issue and the responsibility of the entire international community to act pragmatically towards ending Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories”. [DNE, 3/8/2013]

Also of Interest:
Paris asks Egypt to do more for women’s rights | Shorouk (Arabic)
PM asks Egypt to stay out of Libyan affairs | Egypt Independent, DNE, Ahram (Arabic)
US Embassy warns citizens to avoid downtown Cairo and Port Said | Egypt Independent
Egypt’s tunnel closures hit Gaza builders | Ahram Online

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