Police conscripts of the Egyptian Central Security Forces (CSF) went on strike Friday in Ismailia, demanding better treatment and working conditions, according to state-run Al-Ahram.
Dozens of conscripts staged a sit-in outside their camp, blocking the Cairo-Ismailia road, to protest long duty hours, reported Al-Ahram. The strike resulted into a confrontation between the soldiers and their officers, leaving two injured.
Ismailia Security Director Moustafa Salama visited the camp in an attempt to resolve the problem, promising the conscripts better conditions and opening an investigation into any violations. Negotiations between the soldiers and officers resulted in the former ending the sit-in.
The Ministry of Interior was not available for comment.
Formed as a paramilitary force to confront political opposition as well as student and labour strikes, the apparatus has largely been the main force for the Egyptian government to control the streets since the early 1960s.
As a part of the Egyptian policy to draft males into the military service, the CSF has been one of the most controversial government-run organisations in the country.
In 2012, CSF troops in Cairo’s Obour security camp refused to obey orders and blocked the road over the alleged murder of one of their colleagues by a superior officer.
In February of last year, 19 conscripts were killed and 120 injured in the Badrashin train crash. It was reported by state media that most of the victims were recruits from Upper Egypt on their way to training camps.
Also, last February, a Cairo Court handed a three-year prison sentence to former minister of interior Habib Al-Adly in a trial dubbed by the media as “the conscripts’ enslavement case”.
Al-Adly was convicted of using conscripts to work at his farmhouse in the Giza suburb of 6 October and serve his family.
Recently, the controversial paramilitary forces were criticised for being “unconstitutional and oppressive”. The legal office of Gaber Nassar, Professor of Law and President of Cairo University, issued a report last year saying that the CSF continues to act as “a violent tool to oppress the masses”.
The report added: “CSF conscripts, many of whom are impoverished and illiterate get rejected by the army, and serve their three years of compulsory military service in this force instead.”
The unconstitutionality of this apparatus lies in the fact that Egyptian law asserts that conscription must take place through the army and not the police, said the report.
Nasser Amin, National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) member, previously criticised the performance of the Egyptian riot police after the violent dispersal of sit-ins at Rabaa Al-Adaweya and Al-Nahda squares last year.
The dispersals, in which the Egyptian riot police played a leading role, were described by Human Rights Watch as “a crime against humanity”.