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Abu Ismail criticises Ministry of Interior

Salafi cleric accused interior ministry of guarding nobody but themselves

Abu Ismail called for sacking the minister of interior following attempts of National Security Forces to enter the headquarters of his presidential campaign.(AFP/Getty Images/KHALED DESOUKI)

Disqualified presidential candidate Hazem Salah Abu Ismail has criticised the Ministry of Interior, reacting to the strict security measures it took on Sunday night in the area facing Dokki police station.

Dozens of Central Security Forces officers and vehicles guarded the police station, following calls by Abu Ismail to head that way.

Abu Ismail called on his supporters to head to Dokki police station on Sunday, demanding for the dismissal of the minister of interior. However, early Sunday evening the former presidential candidate withdrew his call for march.

Of his official Facebook page, Abu Ismail said he is not heading to the police station or to any other institution, claiming his decision is to restore a peaceful climate in the country. Another statement was issued one hour later. The statement read: “Did you see the security measures taken by the Ministry of Interior if it really wants to protect a certain institution? … Now the situation is clearly in the hands of the president.”

The Ministry of Interior issued a statement on Sunday night, denying reports claiming that some of the state institutions are trying to prevent the arrest of a famous Islamist sheikh. The statement added the reports are trying to disrupt the stability and security of the country.

Al-Dostour reported that the Ministry of Interior had issued an arrest warrant for Abu Ismail; later on, the party claimed that the presidency intervened to prevent the arrest.

Gamal Saber, official spokesperson for Abu Ismail’s presidential campaign, said the cleric’s decision came to prevent any clashes that might occur between his supporters and CSF members. He explained that the Ministry of Interior warned of the possibility that armed men might be lurking among Abu Ismail’s supporters, potentially leading to clashes.

Saber said the incident had shown what the ministry is capable of, asking whether guarding a police station is more important than guarding a mosque. “The police that couldn’t protect the Presidential Palace, Al-Qa’ed Ibrahim mosque or Muslim Brotherhood offices could easily guard a police station with dozens of vehicles and personnel,” he said.

The spokesperson said more steps are to be taken after the end of the constitutional referendum. “Those claiming they want democracy are opposing democratic voting procedures adopted in the referendum, even before the results are announced. They want nothing but the ruin of the state,” concluded Saber.

In a phone call broadcast on Al-Hafez Islamist TV channel, Abu Ismail said he considers the Ministry of Interior guilty for not protecting Islamist Sheikh Al-Mahallawy, who was besieged in Al-Qa’ed Ibrahim mosque in Alexandria on Friday.

Al-Mahallawy was prevented from leaving the mosque as clashes took place outside. Protesters said the preacher called on the worshippers during Friday prayers to vote in favour of the constitution.

The disqualified Salafi presidential candidate, called for the dismissal of the minister of interior on Saturday, following attempts of National Security Forces to enter the headquarters of his presidential campaign.

A brief statement read, “sacking the minister of interior is a must now… Today [Sunday] at 7pm, we will head to Dokki police station to inquire about what happened.”

This came after a large group of Salafis attacked the headquarters of Al-Wafd Party and newspaper, burning parts of its entrance and causing damage to some cars.

“You leave a 90 year-old sheikh besieged in a mosque for 17 hours without even throwing a single tear gas bomb, while there were rains of bombs during the attacks on Al-Wafd party. Today’s security measures show how capable the Ministry of Interior is to protect any institution, but only if it wants to,” said Abu Ismail.

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