Egypt vigilantes defend homes as police disappear
(Reuters) – Egyptians armed with sticks and razors have formed vigilante groups to defend their homes from looters after police disappeared from the streets following days of violent protests.
Banks, junctions and important buildings previously guarded by the police and state security were left abandoned on Saturday and civilians have quickly stepped in to fill the void.
“There is no police to be found anywhere,” said Ghadeer, 23, from an upscale neighbourhood. “Doormen and young boys from their neighbourhoods are standing outside holding sticks, razors and other weapons to prevent people from coming in.”
She added: “The community is working together to stop this and protect ourselves.”
Police withdrew from the streets when the army was sent in to take over security in Cairo. Witnesses have since seen mobs storming supermarkets, commercial centres, banks, private property and government buildings in Cairo and elsewhere.
Egyptians have called for army intervention to bring back law and order. On Saturday, many protesters changed: “No to plundering and no to destruction.”
Dozens of shops across Egypt have painted display windows white to hide contents and discourage looting. A cash machine was broken in an upscale neighbourhood, witnesses said.