Egyptian riot police take to the streets

2012-05-07 14:24

Cairo - Hundreds of Egyptian riot police stormed out of their camp and cut off a desert highway out of Cairo following reports that an officer had killed one of their colleagues, state media reported on Monday.

"Senior security officials have managed to contain the crisis involving conscripts in the Central Security Forces who cut the Cairo-Ismailiya desert road," on Saturday, the state-owned Al-Ahram said, in a rare report of any dissent within interior ministry ranks.

A security official confirmed to AFP that hundreds of CSF conscripts had stormed out of the "January 25" camp and took to the streets.

But the official denied that a CSF conscript had been killed, and said the protest had been fuelled by "a rumour".

Video footage shot by a driver on the highway apparently shows the conscripts, in civilian clothes, walking through the streets chanting against the police.

One of the men tells the camera he is protesting because "an officer shot a conscript", in the footage posted on the internet.

According to Al-Ahram, "an officer in the Central Security Forces attacked one of the conscripts... leading to a fight between the two, which prompted a rumour among the conscripts that their colleague had been killed".

Military police as well as riot police were called in to disperse the protest, Al-Ahram reported.

The poorly paid and badly trained CSF troops are the branch of the interior ministry deployed mainly to control protests and riots.

The CSF was heavily involved in trying to quell the protests during the first days of the uprising that ousted president Hosni Mubarak last year, before the army was deployed.

The last major CSF rebellion was in 1986, when thousands took to the streets in violent protests in Cairo following rumours that their service would be extended.