CAIRO – Egypt’s security chief fired nearly 700 police officers Wednesday in a step to cleanse the much-hated force, the latest concession military rulers have made under pressure from protesters holding a sit-in in Cairo’s Tahrir Square for the past six days.
Widespread abuses by the police under the former regime were a key reason behind the protests that toppled President Hosni Mubarak in February. But the ruling military council that took over from him has been slow to hold ex-regime officials and police accountable for killing nearly 900 protesters during the uprising.
With public frustration rising sharply, protesters resumed a sit-in in Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the revolution that was occupied day and night for most of the 18-day uprising. Protesters say the dismissal of 669 police officers was not extensive enough.
“These are just sedatives. We won’t be fooled,” said Walid Saoud, a 34-year old protester at Tahrir. He said the sit-in will go on because the protesters want to see a total restructuring of the police force.