- ‘Top Gun’ for drones: Squadrons of carrier-based killers have Navy’s approval
- Bill Clinton to endorse Charlie Rangel for re-election
- Pfc. Bradley Manning is now Pfc. Chelsea Manning: Court says so
- Secret base U.S. special forces used to train Libyans now under terrorist control: report
- 9th suspect in N.C. kidnapping turns self in to FBI
- L.A. sheriff admits to testing flyover spy program without notifying residents
- Foreign minister vows response if Russians are attacked in Ukraine
- Robert Griffin III to drive pace car before Richmond NASCAR race
- Material on Australian shore examined in jet hunt
- Bomb, shooting in Egypt kills 2 police officers
Civilians watch over neighborhoods in Egypt anarchy
CAIRO (AP) — When Egypt's police melted from the streets of Cairo this weekend, the people stepped in.
Civilians armed with knives, axes, golf clubs, firebombs, metal bars and makeshift spears watched over many neighborhoods in the sprawling capital of 18 million people this weekend, defending their families and homes against widespread looting and lawlessness.
The thugs had exploited the chaos created by the largest anti-government protests in decades and the military failed to fill the vacuum left by police.
On Saturday, the army sent out an appeal for citizens to help.
“The military encourages neighborhood youth to defend their property and their honor,” it said in a statement.
On Sunday, joint teams of civilians and military were patrolling, some with guard dogs.
Mohammed Gafaar, a 34-year old salesman in the Nasr City area, said his neighborhood watch organized soon after the night curfew went into force at 4 p.m. They did it at the behest of residents, who appealed for protection of their property, sending out the call from the local mosque.
“I feel betrayed by the police,” said Mr. Gaafar, who had carried rocks, a stick and a Molotov cocktail in a soda bottle. “They have to be tried for the protesters they killed and for their treason. They left the country to be looted. I am angry at the regime.”
Akram al-Sharif, a 33-year old Cairo resident who lives in one of the affluent compounds in the city’s west at the edge of the desert, said locals hired 20 Bedouins with guns and organized into groups to protect the five gates of the compound.
“I am happy this is happening. There was solidarity,” he said, but he criticized the military for failing to protect private property.
The troubles began after days of protests calling for the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak reached a crescendo Friday, when tens of thousands poured into the streets after noon prayers in the city’s 3,000 mosques. The protests quickly spiraled into clashes with riot police, who fired countless canisters of tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons and beat the demonstrators with sticks.
By Friday night, protesters had set fire to the ruling party headquarters along the Nile in central Cairo and the first reports of looting emerged — people making off with electric fans and televisions from the burning complex. Mr. Mubarak ordered the military into the streets for the first time to try to control the escalating turmoil.
On Saturday, the tens of thousands of police who normally patrol the streets vanished. Security officials, asked why they disappeared, said that remained unclear. But the police, who are hated by many, may have been seen as just fanning the flames.
Throughout the day, shops and malls were ransacked and burned, and residents of affluent neighborhoods began reporting burglaries by gangs of thugs roaming the streets with knives and guns. By midafternoon, shopowners and residents were boarding up their stores and houses.
Gangs of armed men attacked jails, sending thousands of inmates into the unpoliced streets.
TWT Video Picks
Feds who send arms against ranch families betray American values
- Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy hailed as patriot, ripped as lawless deadbeat
- CARSON: When government looks more like foe than friend
- Pentagon plans to replace flight crews with 'full-time' robots
- Georgia governor signs bill expanding gun rights
- America is an oligarchy, not a democracy or republic, university study finds
- Texas is next! AG warns BLM wants 90,000 acres after Bundy ranch standoff
- Professor apologizes after blasting Republicans in class
- Justice Dept.'s new clemency guidelines: Crack offenders most obvious candidates
- Ukraine claims torture by pro-Russian forces on the heels of Biden's stern warning to Moscow
- Ministry of Truth: SCOTUS skeptical of law to police campaign 'lies'
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Celebrity deaths in 2014