The civil servants at the Interior ministry too are on strike, over pensions, pay and abusive treatment as civilians on the hands of the police officers. These civil servants’ strike is happening, following a national strike by the police corporals, over pay, work conditions, ill treatment by the officers. The corporals were also demanding an end to military tribunals in the police force.
Make no mistake, Mubarak’s interior ministry is still alive and well. We smashed it on the Friday of Anger and dealt some strong blows to it, including the March 2011 raids against SS offices. We’ve smacked the pigs’ asses on several occasions including the mini uprising in November 2011. But still, the Central Security Forces, SS (or what’s now called National Security Sector) and most of the repression machine is intact, and moreover is now receiving the direct help of the army’s military police and intelligence services.
As we continue to organize and fight against the interior ministry, in an effort to dissolve it and replace it with a different form of policing, such strikes and mutinies by the conscripts, corporals and civil servants should be supported by the revolutionary forces to create more fractures in this repression machine.
Central Security Forces in Obour are now on mutiny, following the the death of one of their colleagues, reportedly tortured by an officer. The conscripts have stormed the gates of their camp, and cut the Cairo – Ismailia road. In the video above, they are even chanting a famous UWK anti-police song!
There are reports also that army units have been sent to crush the mutiny, but I can’t confirm any, though it’s expected.
This is not the first time such mutiny occurs following the outbreak of the revolution. Several mutinies occurred on the Friday of Anger 28 January 2011. On the following day, the guy next to me in Muhammad Mahmoud Street while marching on the interior ministry was a CSF conscript who escaped from his camp and joined the protesters. Repeated mutinies were reported in Cairo, Alexandria and elsewhere over the course of the following months, over ill treatment from the officers, long working hours, 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 most dirty job. The last time they went on a full scale mutiny was in 1986, crushed brutally by Mubarak who sent in the army.
Even if Tantawi manages to crush this rebellion and prevent it from spreading, the objective conditions for another 1986-style mass scale mutiny are still there. Those new waves of conscripts are not just the sons of poor peasants and workers, who have no love for their officers, but also we are going through a revolution in case you forgot. And those new conscripts have seen it, and could well have participated in it prior to their conscription.
The interior ministry will not be able to restructure its CSF. There is not the political will; the current police generals who belong to Habib el-Adly’s clique are more than happy to see the status of their army of slaves remains unchanged. SCAF’s generals too would love to see Mubarak’s CSF revived in full force and take charge of crushing protests instead of having to involve the military police.
I wholeheartedly support the CSF mutiny, and I have no doubt that we will be seeing similar acts in the army barracks in the future.
Central Security Forces conscripts in Dekheila, west of Alexandria, went on mutiny yesterday, staging protests, firing into the air, then tried storming Dekheila’s police station, setting fire to two police cars, after an officer assaulted a conscript in the camp.
Residents in the area according to eyewitnesses joined the conscripts, who were chanting “We are soldiers. We are oppressed” إحنا عساكر مظلومين which lasted for hours before senior officers convinced the soldiers to return to their barracks, as the interior minister announced the suspension of the officer and opened an investigation into the incident.
This is not the first time the CSF conscripts go on strike since the outbreak of the revolution. I recall on the 29 of January, during our failed attempt to storm the interior ministry, that the man next to me was a CSF conscript who told me he had escaped from his camp on the first day of the uprising and decided to join the protests. I also met in Tahrir two days ago a CSF conscript from Minya, who told me he refused to shoot protesters on the Friday of Anger and allowed some of the detained activists he had in custody to escape, only to be punished by his officer with electric shocks and imprisonment for ten days.
The above mentioned two cases are my own personal experiences. Other activists I know, almost all of them, encountered at some point during the uprising similar cases of CSF soldiers on mutiny joining in.
Moreover, local media reported on a number of occasions in the recent months cases where CSF conscripts went on strike in their camps over ill-treatment by the officers or over their work conditions. In those strikes, conscripts usually assaulted their officers and destroyed their offices.
The CSF are the interior ministry’s slave army. We have to confront them when they attack, but we should always do our best to win them over at the same time. It’s not an easy job, but they, not the officers, are our allies.
Around 1,000 Central Security Forces conscripts went on strike yesterday at their el-Gabal el-Ahmar Camp in Cairo, reported Al-Masry Al-Youm. The conscripts protested the abuse they receive on the hands of the officers, their work conditions at the camp, and their delayed pay.
The conscripts, Al-Masry Al-Youm added, assaulted a number of officers and destroyed their cars and offices. Senior interior ministry officials rushed to the camp and negotiated for an hour with representatives from the striking conscripts. The strike was suspended on promises from the officials that the conscripts’ demands will be met.