Police sacked for violence in Tahrir Square

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The Independent Online

Thousands of people were expected to return to Cairo's Tahrir Square today as Egypt's revolution continued to wilt under the pressure of renewed street clashes and suspicions about the conduct of the ruling military council.

In a bid to head off growing anti-establishment animosity – which is threatening to tip Egypt towards further bloodshed prior to elections scheduled for September – the government announced that hundreds of police officers would be sacked for alleged roles in killing protesters during the February uprising.

The Interior Ministry said the move would be the biggest shake-up in the department's history, and yesterday a security official was quoted in a state-run newspaper saying it would "change the thinking" of Egypt's police force.

The perception that the ruling military council, which took power after Hosni Mubarak was toppled in February, has been slow to pursue those guilty of ordering and executing attacks on civilians has been one of the major grievances of pro-democracy activists.

According to Emad Gad, an expert from the Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo, the Interior Ministry's announcement was calculated to assuage public anger ahead of today's nationwide rallies. "I think the army is trying to make its relationship with the people better," he said.