CAIRO: Hundreds of low-ranking policemen in Egypt were holding protests on Tuesday to demand they not be used as a tool for political oppression in the country’s ongoing turmoil.
Dozens of policemen rallied Tuesday outside local security administration headquarters in at least 10 provinces.
Some of them carried signs reading, “we are innocent of the blood of the martyrs.” Although small, the protests marked a rare instance of dissent by Egypt’s police force.
The rallies reflect fears among many policemen of a public backlash after weeks of violent crackdowns on anti-government protests.
Rights activists allege that police have used excessive force against the latest wave of protests that started on the eve of the second anniversary of the 2011 Egyptian 2011 uprising that toppled longtime President Hosni Mubarak.
Separately during the day a judicial source said a court has sentenced two Israelis to two years in prison for illegally entering Egypt. The court issued the verdict on Monday, the source said.
Andrey Pshenichnikov, 24, and Ahmed Daif, 33, appear to have entered Egypt separately.
Police had arrested Pshenichikov in Taba, on the border with Israel, on suspicion of spying.
Israeli media had identified him as a Russian-born immigrant to Israel who had been arrested by the Israeli Shin Bet security service last year over his pro-Palestinian activism.
In October 2011, Egypt freed a US-Israeli citizen under a prisoner exchange after he was arrested in Cairo and accused of working for Israel’s Mossad spy agency and sowing sectarian strife in Egypt, allegations he denied.