In Egypt, Mubarak’s repression machine is still alive and well

Hossam el-Hamalawy writes: A little over a week ago, in Obour City, hundreds of Egypt’s notorious Central Security Forces (CSF) conscripts mutinied over torture received at the hands of their officers. The conscripts took to the highway, blocked the road, and even started chanting a famous anti-police song composed by the Ultras White Knights, one of the country’s football fan groups. The mutiny was put down quickly by the army, together with concessions and promises offered.

This was not the first time such a mutiny has occurred since the January 2011 revolution. Several mutinies occurred on the “Friday of Anger“. The following day, I met a guy in Mohamed Mahmoud Street while marching on the interior ministry who was a CSF conscript who escaped from his camp to join the protesters. Repeated mutinies were reported in Cairo, Alexandria and elsewhere over the course of the following months, over ill treatment by officers, long working hours and bad food.

The CSF is the interior ministry’s army, and its central arm in crushing street dissent. Those conscripts are poorly paid, poorly fed, tortured, and made to do the state’s dirtiest job. The last time they undertook a full-scale mutiny was in 1986. It was brutally crushed by Mubarak who sent in the army. [Continue reading…]

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