Cairo, March 8 (DPA) Military police Monday arrested 47 Egyptian police officers believed to be responsible for ransacking police stations in an alleged attempt to destroy sensitive documents, many of which contain evidence of torture and abuse of detainees.
Egypt’s general prosecutor ordered the arrests, following days of unrest and protests against the country’s controversial State Security Investigations Services (SSIS), long considered an internal spy agency under the powers of former president Hosni Mubarak.
Protesters believe security officers were trying to destroy potentially incriminating evidence by burning and shredding thousands of documents.
Calls have increased in the past week for the dissolution of the security services, widely viewed as corrupt and violent.
On Monday, thousands of protesters gathered in the northern Sinai city of El-Arish, demanding the dissolution of the SSIS and the release of political prisoners.
Some protesters carried photographs of political prisoners. Others chanted “bring down the state security forces.”
The protesters are also demanding that files in SSIS buildings be protected so that officers cannot destroy more documents throughout the country.
The protest in North Sinai came a day after the Egyptian military fired gunshots into the air and used electric tasers and batons to disperse a crowd gathering at SSIS offices in Cairo’s Lazoughly Square.
The SSIS is also blamed for excessive use of force against the anti-government demonstrations which led to Mubarak’s resignation last month.
At least 350 protesters were killed in those crackdowns.
Egypt’s armed forces on Sunday asked protesters to hand over files which were taken when demonstrators forced their way into various SSIS offices.
Files should be handed in to the armed forces and not be spread around because this would threaten the security of the nation, the armed forces said via text messages to Egyptians, as well as in a communique on its Facebook page.
But documents were already being uploaded by protesters onto the internet and disseminated via Twitter and other social media sites.