Interior Minister urges using machine guns against protesters in new leaks

Aya Nader
4 Min Read
Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim (Photo by Ahmed Al-Malky\File)
Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim told reporters in a press conference on Sunday that a security campaign by the police and armed forces killed seven militants, who are alleged members of militant group Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis.  (Photo by Ahmed Al-Malky\File)
Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim
(Photo by Ahmed Al-Malky\File)

Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim urged security forces to use methods “permitted by law without hesitation from water to machine guns” in protest-dispersal in alleged new leaks released Monday night.

“I should not give them a chance to gather 100 or 200 [around them], I should deal with them, dispersing, arresting and making them run away, not allowing those 100 to become thousands and become unable to face the situation…even if I have to deal with them at mosques,” Ibrahim could be heard saying on the Al Jazeera aired leaks amid applause by his officers.

“The coup is fighting a war against Islam in Egypt and the region,”  Islamist political organisation, the Salafi Front said, criticising such “a contempt of the sanctity of mosques, blood and the Koran”, in a Tuesday statement.

Egypt’s controversial Protest Law, issued in November 2013, faced wide local and international criticism for allowing security forces to use water cannons, batons and teargas to disperse protesters. The controversial law also allowed “escalatory measures”, including the use of rubber bullets and metal pellets. The law requires a three-day notice for protests and permission from the Ministry of Interior.

The minister also said in the leaks that any revolution not supported by the military and the police, “the strongest institutions in the state”, shall fail. “Both institutions supported the 30 June protests which led to the toppling of [the former president Mohamed] Morsi,” Ibrahim allegedly said in the leaked tape.

Ibrahim ordered officers to cover their faces during important missions such as the arrest of leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood and prominent “kids”. The reason for this, he said, is that security officers would not become a target.

Police were absent from the streets for more than two years following the 25 January  revolution before Morsi appointed Ibrahim.

Ibrahim re-established a police presence on the streets, alongside the then-Defence Minister Al-Sisi’s armed forces, during the ouster of Morsi. A crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood supporters left most members, including the Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, imprisoned, underground, or their fleeing the country.

The current leak is not the first of its kind.

On 19 January, leaks showed government officials instructing leading media figures to appeal to people’s emotions and encourage them to support Al-Sisi during his presidential campaign in 2014. Four days later, another leak aired suggested the Al-Sisi’s office’s intervention in the judiciary and that Morsi was detained in a secret military facility, which, if correct, would make his ousting a coup.

Leaks early in February allegedly reveal that top government officials are dissatisfied with financial support from the main GCC countries, describing them as “not real states”. Al-Sisi had also expressed the abundance of money in these countries in the leaks.

Britain’s leading independent forensic speech and acoustics laboratory, J. P. French Associates, declared the authenticity of the leaks on the “half-state” Gulf donors and Morsi’s detention in military confinement, reported the Huffington Post on Monday.

Al-Sisi highlighted in a speech Sunday night the support Egypt has received over the past year from the Gulf countries, stressing his respect and denying he ever spoke ill of any country or person, and how there is a “war of information”.

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