700 Cops Axed as Egypt Protests Surge

Activists demand revamping of brutal force
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Jul 14, 2011 1:25 AM CDT
Protesters chant slogans as they demonstrate at Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt.   (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
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(Newser) – The Egyptian government is firing some 700 senior police officers linked to the killing of protesters as demonstrations surge against continued brutality and failure to clean up the security system. The move was a major concession to huge numbers of activists who have staged a 6-day sit-in at Cairo's Tahrir Square, revolutionary ground zero. Brutal cops were a key reason President Hosni Mubarak was toppled earlier this year, and activists complain that torture and other police abuses are continuing, reports the BBC. Protest leaders called the firings too little, too late. "These are just sedatives. We won't be fooled," said one representative who's seeking a total overhaul of the police force.

Interior Minister Mansour el-Issawi vowed that "any police officer will be held accountable for any violation." Mubarak's former security chief and aides are currently on trial to face charges of ordering the killing of close to 900 protesters. In another major concession to demonstrators, the government is delaying planned September elections for up to two months to give candidates more time to present effective campaigns, AP reports.

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