Egypt's president praised the country's policemen on Friday despite public criticism over their violent response to anti-government demonstrations, and he warned officers who are also protesting his rule against breaking ranks.
President Mohammed Morsi addressed riot police at one of their camps near Cairo before joining them in weekly Friday prayers in a show of solidarity with the force. (...)
In his speech, Morsi warned the police against divisions.
"Be aware, as I know you are, against breaking ranks or else our enemy will break us all," Morsi said. "Our enemy outside the country is happy when we are divided."
Rights activists on Facebook denounced Morsi's speech and questioned his suggestion that police were at the heart of the uprising.
"Instead of this talk that turns the facts upside down in an attempt to reach out to riot police, should it not be a priority first of the president to put forth a plan to repair the relationship between police and the people?" asked one group dedicated to the case of Khaled Said, a young man tortured to death by police in 2010. Said's death was a rallying cry in the anti-Mubarak protests.
Morsi acknowledged changes that have swept Egypt since the revolution, saying that his June 30 election as the country's first freely elected and first civilian president was a historical turning point for the police force.
In the past two years, around 100 policemen have been tried in cases related to the killing of protesters with almost all ending in acquittals.
Reform of the police is among protesters' top demands. (AP, via Yahoo news)