Interior Minister: Police will not suppress 30 June protests

Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim on Tuesday pledged that police will not confront protesters during demonstrations planned by opposition groups on 30 June demanding early presidential elections.

The day marks the first anniversary of President Mohamed Morsy's taking power. Several opposition politicians have also expressed hopes it will also mark the end of his tenure as president.

But a number of Islamist groups are also planning parallel protests to defend Morsy's legitimacy as elected president.

There is growing anxiety that concurrent protests could descend into violent clashes.

Speaking to a conference for drug-control police chiefs on Tuesday, Ibrahim stressed that his ministry "will not be a tool of suppression for any regime.”

The Egyptian police’s sole role is to protect protesters, the state and security institutions, he explained.

Ibrahim added that police forces would not secure political party offices, including those of the ruling Muslim Brotherhood.

Protection of the Ettehadiya presidential palace would remain the exclusive duty of the Republican Guards, the Interior Minister stated, according to a comprehensive Interior Ministry security plan drawn up as early as 2009.

However, the police would respond to calls for assistance in the event of a security emergency, he added.

Ibrahim urged "all national forces" to ensure demonstrations remained peaceful, rather than "setting the country on fire,” he said, without elaborating.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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