CAIRO (AP) — Hundreds of Egypt's low-ranking policemen staged protests on Tuesday demanding they not be used as a tool for political oppression in the country's ongoing turmoil.
Dozens of policemen rallied outside local security administration headquarters in at least 10 provinces. Some of them carried signs reading, "we are innocent of the blood of the martyrs."
Although small, the protests marked a rare instance of dissent by Egypt's police force. The rallies reflect fears among many policemen of a public backlash after weeks of violent crackdowns on anti-government protests.
Rights activists allege that police have used excessive force against the latest wave of protests that started on the eve of the second anniversary of the uprising that toppled longtime President Hosni Mubarak.
In the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, policemen gathered outside security headquarters shouting: "Down with the interior minister." They also chanted: "No to the Brotherhood takeover of the interior ministry," alleging that the country's largest Islamic group, The Muslim Brotherhood, is packing state institutions with its members. Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi was a longtime member of the group.
The protests come as the Shura Council, the country's Islamist-dominated interim parliament, is debating a new law to regulate demonstrations and require protesters to get permission from the ministry of interior to hold their protest.
The protesters said that they are against laws that would make them responsible for permitting or preventing protests and which would eventually put them in confrontation with protesters.