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Monday, March 7, 2011     FOR YOUR EYES ONLY

Post-Mubarak backlash in Egypt: 'It is dangerous to be a policeman'

CAIRO — Egyptian police have been targeted in a backlash since the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.


Egyptian sources said police officers and units accused of ordering attacks on the opposition were being targeted. They said attacks have been reported in several Egyptian cities over the last month, including Alexandria, Cairo and Sharqiya.

"In some cities, it is dangerous to be a policeman," an Egyptian source said.

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On March 4, a reported 1,000 Egyptians attacked the State Security Investigation agency in Alexandria. Egypt's official Middle East News Agency reported that four police cars were torched and six others were damaged.

The riot, in which protesters called for the dismantling of State Security, prompted the Egyptian Army to intervene and evacuate the police facility in Alexandria. MENA said army units protected the departing police officers.

At least 21 security officers were assaulted and reported injured. Witnesses said some of the SSI officers had opened fire on the protesters.

On March 5, 2,500 Egyptians attacked an SSI facility in Cairo and took over parts of the complex. Soldiers sought to remove the demonstrators, but there were no clashes reported.

The opposition has called for the restructuring of Egypt's security forces, particularly State Security, which until Mubarak's ouster contained 500,000 personnel. State Security was deemed the main agency used against the protest movement in January and February, in which about 400 people were killed.

Officials said Interior Minister Mahmoud Wagdi has ordered a study on State Security. They said the study would make recommendations on the responsibilities and the structure of the agency.

For years, SSI had been under the authority of then-Interior Minister Habib Adly, regarded as the architect of Egypt's counter-insurgency program. On March 5, Adly, ousted during the previous month, was brought to a Cairo court and charged with money-laundering and abuse of his authority.

"I gave Egypt a lot, and I fought terrorism," Adly said.

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