The sources said the ministry has reorganized police in such major
cities as Cairo and Alexandria. But they said in many other towns and cities
police have been largely absent and remained confined to their stations.
The result has been a sharp increase in violent crime. The Interior
Ministry said incidents of armed robbery reached 420 in July, up from
36 in January. Murders in July reached 166, up from 44 in January.
"There has clearly been a hands-off approach that appears very
suspicious," an opposition source said.
The military regime has replaced some senior police commanders, but left
mid-level officers in their positions. Interior Minister Mansour Issawi
fired 700 senior officers, including those from the feared State Security
Agency, and established the National Security Authority.
But opposition sources said Issawi's measures were insignificant. They
said most of the dismissed officers had been close to retirement while the
ministry refused to investigate thousands of others accused of abusing
civilians. So far, 140 officers have been prosecuted for allegedly killing
civilians during the 18-day revolt against Mubarak in January and February.
"People who were shot dead while trying to storm police stations are
counted as 'martyrs' just like the protesters killed in cold blood," Issawi
In many cases, police officers were believed to have joined with
criminal gangs to intimidate entire towns. The sources said the alliance has
ensured that corrupt officers share revenues from such crime as theft, armed
robberies and abductions.
"The policy of the [ruling] Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and the
government, reinforces the belief that there is a wide gap between the
Egyptian yearning for democracy and eradicating the vestiges of the former
autocratic regime," the opposition coalition said.
The sources said police were also working with major employers to
prevent labor unrest at their factories. In some cases, they said, police
were hired to attack and torture union organizers.
"The police want revenge against the people and want to profit from
their weapons and authority," the source said. "Right now, there is nobody,
even the military, that wants to stop this."