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Tanks in Cairo during the 1986 riots

On February 25, 1986, around 25,000 Egyptian conscripts of the Central Security Forces (CSF), Egyptian paramilitary force, staged violent protests in and around Cairo. The riot came as a reaction to the rumour that their three-year compulsory service would be prolonged by one additional year without any additional benefits or rank promotion.

The incited conscripts targeted tourist areas and destroyed two hotels. The regime of Mubarak relied on the Egyptian Army to crush the mutiny, thus when the poorly paid and poorly armed CSF mutinied,[1] the Army was sent in to restore order. The Army deployed Tanks and armoured personnel carriers and commando snipers to hunt down the rebelling conscripts, most of whom were unarmed or armed only with shields, batons, and assault rifles. In Upper Egypt and near Giza, the Army Aviation and the Air Force used helicopters and fighter jets to attack the rebelling conscripts, causing a large number of deaths. At least 4 to 5 helicopters, and 3 fighter jets, were used in the operation. The Air Force officer in command of the operation was Ahmed Shafik, as commander of all Mig-21 fleets in the Central Military Zone.

The riot lasted for 3 days and a total of 107 people died, mostly CSF conscripts, according to official reports.[2] Over 20,000 conscripts were dismissed from service with no benefits, and the agitators received correctional punishment after being tried before State Security Court for arson, violent riots, and insubordination according to penal code. Some reports related that mutiny to a conspiracy against the Minister of Interior in charge by then (Gen. Ahmed Roshdy) due to his policies. After the suppression the government promised to overhaul the force by raising its entry standards, increasing payment and bettering living conditions in their camps.[3]

See also


  1. H.Frisch, Guns and butter in the Egyptian Army, p.6. Middle East Review of International Affairs, Vol. 5, No. 2 (Summer 2001).
  2. Europa Publications Limited, The Middle East & North Africa, Volume 50: p.303

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