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Review: Columnists explore the presence of armed forces in Port Said

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After the recent strikes in several police stations, commentators across almost all Egyptian newspapers discussed the consequences of the move. Many writers debated the extent of danger resulting from the presence of the armed forces in the Mediterranean city of Port Said, whereas some believe it reminds people of 28 January, when police disappeared from the streets and chaos spread across the country.


Port Said: Steps backwards

Amr Al-Shobaki

Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper

Amr Al-Shobaki

Al-Shobaki discusses the recent slogans chanted by Port Said residents praising the armed forces. Chants like “People and the armed forces are one hand” could be heard again in the city, exactly as during the 2011 revolution. The military has taken over the Mediterranean city, but the writer warns that this might be a sign of regression, not progress. The armed forces cannot perform the duty of an investigative policeman or a normal police officer who is trained to restore security in the street.

Although the armed forces have managed to bring the city back under control, Al-Shobaki believes that the scene in Port Said reminds him of 28 January 2011, when police forces withdrew from Cairo’s police stations and streets.

The situation in Port Said necessitates a firm position on the restructuring of police and setting a firm job description for policemen involving regaining safety and security in Egypt’s cities. The hands of the police are currently trembling, states Al-Shobaki, and the authorities remain paralysed and have so far failed to help the police institution to change.


Mr. President, it is the time to depart

Moustafa Al-Naggar

Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper

Moustafa Al-Naggar

The poor performance and weak management skills of President Mohamed Morsi have led Al-Naggar to ask him to leave power. Nothing has changed for the better since the revolution, in the writer’s opinion. Morsi has always been an obedient student of his Islamist group, blindly obeying what he is being told.

Egypt is almost on the verge of disintegrating if Morsi does not firmly control the situation. An atmosphere of chaos pervades the country and the security vacuum is getting larger every day. Al-Naggar addresses Morsi and tells him that he has unfortunately missed out a golden chance to win the dedication of Egyptians.

He reminds him that the majority of Egyptians who elected him in the past presidential elections had no other choice but him. They were all scared of restoring the old regime by choosing Morsi’s rivals.

The columnist believes that the next step should be to return to the ballot boxes and see if Egyptians will repeat their choice and re-elect Morsi. Al-Naggar believes that neither Morsi nor his competitors have succeeded in playing politics. In his perspective, Morsi has failed as a president and his rivals have failed as opposition.


Breaking the police and the armed forces altogether

Emad Al-Din Hussein

Al-Shorouk newspaper

Emad Al-Din Hussein

After several police officers announced a strike, Islamists expressed their happiness and readiness to create an alternative police system.  Hussein condemns the recent strike by policemen and the closure of many police stations.  The continuous violence and clashes occurring recently are signs of a bitter conflict for the domination of Egypt.

When Morsi arrived in the palace, there was no chemistry between the government and the police. Although many of those striking have good intentions, the high-ranking officials and generals in the ministry have used the move as a method of putting pressure on the Muslim Brotherhood and the regime.

From their side, the Islamists have surprised everybody by announcing their readiness to establish an alternative police institution. Hussein warns against this, stating that such an idea might bring militias that will work on spreading fear, rather than security, to power in Egypt.

This is not the first announcement made by Islamists on the issue of Islamist police; Islamist figure Salah Sultan previously called for the formation of an Islamic army to go to Jerusalem.

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