The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Ministry of Interior asks for funding to put down food riots

Poor, poor Egyptian Ministry of Interior: its repressive capabilities are being stressed to the limit by the constant strikes, riots, protests and other events. So what does it do? Ask for even more money, of course:

In a briefing to parliament, Yusuf said the ministry was spending more money on advanced security equipment meant to quell riots. The official cited communications systems, plastic shields, tear gas and other non-lethal weapons.

So far, Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif has agreed to increase the budget of the Interior Ministry. Yusuf said the Finance Ministry has allocated 1.18 billion Egyptian pounds, or about $220 million for 2008. The overall budget of the ministry was reported at $1.63 billion.

But Yusuf said this was not enough for the needs of Egyptian security forces. He said most of the anti-riot gear and other security equipment were being purchased in euro, which has significantly increased against the dollar over the last year.

Officials said Egypt has been recruiting villagers for the police and security forces. They said officers, many of them drafted for three years, were being trained to rapidly arrive at demonstrations and disperse protesters.

[From World Tribune — Egypt's interior minister seeks riot-control budget as food prices spike]