Gunshots heard as police protest in Cairo

  • World
  • Sunday, 13 Feb 2011

CAIRO (Reuters) - Gunshots rang out near Egypt's Interior Ministry during a wage protest by hundreds of disgruntled policemen, witnesses said. A security guard said they were warning shots fired in the air.

The police force was pulled off the streets when it lost control of anti-government protests last month. Some have held their own protests and sit-ins since Hosni Mubarak's overthrow on Friday, demanding higher wages and immunity from prosecution.

"I've been working for 12 years and my salary is 678 pounds ($115)," said a policeman who gave his name only as Ayman.

"What do you want us to do? This guy (former Interior Minister Habib al-Adli) taught us to be cowards. Our police hospital is being used to treat businessmen and rich people."

Hisham, another low-ranking police officer, said he had served for 21 years and was paid 800 pounds a month.

"The high-ranking officers are the ones who used to get all privileges and we were left to starve. We were told if we don't like it, we can take money from the people," he said.

(Reporting by Yasmine Saleh, Writing by Alistair Lyon; editing by Andrew Dobbie)

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