Karate Squads back to disperse protesters in Egypt

The demonstrations at the Syndicate of Journalists on Sunday evening witnessed the return of the security elements in plain clothes previously used to intervene to break up  protests. Those elements are known by political parties and movements as the “Karate Squads.”

For the past seven years, the squads have made rare appearances since the January 25 uprising, in 2011.

According to political activists, these groups include recruits from the Central Security Forces (CSF), but wearing civilian clothes. These groups were taking over and dispersing the demonstrators, after infiltrating the demonstrations.

Journalists and activists who witnessed the dispersal of the protest organized by dozens of journalists on the stairs of the syndicate said that security forces allowed those “Karate Squads” to enter the vicinity of the syndicate. Police had been cordoning the area around the building, anticipating huge participation in the protest.

Mohamed al-Garhi, a journalist, said that behind the cordons of the police they were trapped by the security forces and barriers, used by the security forces to isolate the syndicate building. Garhi stressed that these elements belong to the “Karate Squads,” already known by the central security apparatus in the late Mubarak era.

The return of these squads has seen a new feature, which is concerned with diversifying the colors and forms of their members’ clothes, having previously been in semi-uniform colors, while the feature of the short hair “Miri” (civilian) look was an unmistakable feature.

Egypt police dispersed a protest by journalists and activists Tuesday night against the maritime demarcation agreement between Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The parliament ratified the agreement on Wednesday that places the Red Sea islands Tiran and Sanafir within the Saudi waters.

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