Egypt's interior minister promises Mubarak-era security

CAIRO Wed Aug 14, 2013 4:14pm EDT

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CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's interior minister pledged on Wednesday to restore the kind of security seen in the days of ousted President Hosni Mubarak, a sign of renewed confidence permeating a police force whose reputation for brutality fuelled the 2011 uprising.

Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim was speaking to journalists after the police used force to break up two sit-in camps set up by supporters of deposed President Mohamed Mursi, triggering violence in which scores of people were killed.

Addressing the complaints of many Egyptians who are tired of the insecurity that has blighted the country since Mubarak was toppled in 2011, Ibrahim evoked the days of the deposed autocrat as a model for the future.

"I promise that as soon as conditions stabilize and the Egyptian street stabilizes, as soon as possible, security will be restored to this nation as if it was before January 25, and more," he said.

The 2011 uprising erupted on January 25, deliberately timed by pro-democracy activists to coincide with national police day.

The police largely disappeared from the streets during the uprising. Since then lax law and order has been a major complaint of many Egyptians who were used to tight policing under Mubarak.

In the weeks since Mursi was deposed by the military in response to mass protests against his rule, the police have been more visible in the streets and a public relations campaign has sought to improve their image.

Rights activists criticized Mursi for failing to drive through any police reform during his year in office.

Last month, Ibrahim announced the revival of a political security agency notorious for an instrument of oppression under Mubarak, drawing criticism from pro-democracy activists.

(Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Michael Georgy and Alison Williams)

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