Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya is establishing “popular squads” responsible for resolving road blockage peacefully and facing outlaws.
Khaled Al-Sherif, Building and Development Party (BDP) spokesperson, said the “squads” would try to convince those blocking roads to end the blockage in order to ease traffic congestion. The BDP is the political wing of Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya.
“The squad members would include a variety of volunteers, not just members from Islamist movements,” Al-Sherif said. He said that 13 other Islamist parties, such as the Al-Fadila, Al-Asala, and Al-Shaab parties, are contributing to the squad. He added that they are trying to convince the Muslim Brotherhood and the Al-Nour Party to join the squads. The squads are expected to be active within weeks.
Al-Sherif denied that the squads would be armed. “Our motto is to fight violence using law,” he said. He stated that the squads would be legal as they are pursuing collaboration with the Ministry of Interior.
The squads would negotiate with outlaws or those blocking the roads and convince them to end their actions, Al-Sherif said. The squad members would be trained to face violence peacefully, but they would be allowed to use tasers. “Usually such people, blocking roads and breaking the law, are small in number and thus easy to control and negotiate with,” Al-Sherif said. “Sometimes they are paid to exercise violence.”
Al-Sherif stated that the mechanism was trialled during the party’s protest last Friday and proved to be a success. He added that Al-Jamaa Al-Ismiya youth also succeeded in convincing protesters to resolve a railway blocakge in Beni Suef last week. “It was done peacefully without any bloodshed,” Al-Sherif said.