Arab Spring: Egypt Suspends Police Officers

In wake of new protests, Egypt's Prime Minister orders suspension of police officers accused of killing demonstrators during the revolution.

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Elad Benari, | updated: 04:41

Essam Sharaf
Essam Sharaf
Israel News photo: Wikimedia Commons

Egypt has suspended all police officers who are accused of killing demonstrators during the revolution which led to the ousting of former President Hosni Mubarak in February, The New York Times reported Saturday.

According to the report, Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf made the announcement during a live address on state television. Sharaf said he issued the new instructions to dismiss police officers accused of killing demonstrators “as a matter of urgency to the minister of interior.”

A spokesman from the Interior Ministry’s office confirmed that the order had indeed been given, saying, “The suspension process will begin on Thursday.”

The move was likely made in order to appease Egyptian protesters, after Cairo’s Tahrir Square once again became the scene of protests in recent weeks.

More than 1,000 people were injured in the latest wave of protests, after police fired tear gas canisters at rioters who were protesting the slow prosecution of police officers who participated in Mubarak’s brutal crackdown.

Last week, hundreds of Egyptians rioted in a Cairo courtroom after a judge freed ten of those police officers.

The Times reported that Sharaf had vowed to put the protesters’ demands into action, saying he issued instructions to Egypt’s general prosecutor to create a committee for speeding up prosecutions and overseeing the judicial system.

Meanwhile, said the report, demonstrators were unimpressed by Sharaf’s attempt to appease their demands.

“Sharaf used very vague language,” Raouf Ismail, a computer engineer, was quoted by The Times as saying. “It reminded us of the speeches Mubarak would give when he was trying to hold on to power.”

“The ruling military council have taken us for a ride,” added Marwa Hussein. “Almost six months later we have realized no revolution took place.”

Their comments were echoed by the thousand protesters who blocked a main road to the Suez Canal and Tawfiqport after Sharaf’s speech. They threatened to block the entrance of the canal if no real concessions were made by Sunday.