Egypt Independent

Interior minister retreats, vows to protect protesters

Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim said Thursday his ministry is committed to maintaining security throughout 30 June protests, regardless of demonstrators' politics.

Ibrahim's latest statement marks something of a U-turn regarding the Tamarod-led opposition demonstrations, which plan to call for early presidential elections at the end of the month.

The minister had said on Tuesday there would be zero police presence during opposition rallies. “We will leave them to demonstrate peacefully and express their views,” he claimed.

Ibrahim had also stated that all border crossings would be closed for three days before demonstrators to limit the possibility of "outlaws" infiltrating the protests.

“Only the ignorant do not recognize the role of the police,” he added. “We stand by the people.”

Ibrahim urged demonstrators to express themselves in a peaceful way according to democratic principles.

He meanwhile praised the security forces for sacrifices made in the pursuit of law and order.

“We will not tolerate criminals terrorizing the people,” he said, referring to the Cabinet's approval this week to submit a draft proposing harsher penalties for attacks on police to the Shura Council.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm