CAIRO, (Reuters) – Egypt’s government plans to reshuffle senior police to remove officers implicated in a violent crackdown on anti-government protests in January, a state-run newspaper said on Thursday.
The announcement seems designed to assauge popular anger at heavy-handed police tactics ahead of mass demonstrations that rights groups and pro-democracy activists have called on Friday.
Activists are demanding swifter trials for officials accused of killing protesters during the 18-day uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak and have called for reforms to make security forces more accountable.
More than 800 people were killed and 6,000 wounded during the first days of the uprising, when police used batons, tear gas, water cannon and live ammunition against protesters.
The Al-Ahram newspaper quoted a security official as saying that all officers “guilty of the events during the revolution, especially those that took place on January 28”, would be retired.
January 28, known as the “Friday of Rage”, was one of the uprising’s bloodiest episodes. The violence prompted the army to move in, and the police were later ordered off the streets.
The reshuffle is designed to change the thinking of the security forces and ensure that police treat civilians with respect, the official was quoted as saying.
The departure of a large number of major generals will allow lower-ranking officers to be promoted within the Interior Ministry, it added.