Last updated: 2 May, 2013

Egyptian Salafists protest outside security headquarters

Hundreds of Salafist Islamists protested outside the Egyptian National Security Agency’s headquarters in Cairo on Thursday, accusing the powerful security service of harassing them.

Some of the Islamists briefly tried to break past the gates of the headquarters, an AFP correspondent said, while others harassed journalists and tried to break an AFP cameraman’s equipment.

The Islamists say they decided to protest after a leader was summoned by the National Security Agency, which the interior ministry has denied.

The agency is the new incarnation of the once-feared State Security apparatus that was dismantled after an early 2011 uprising that overthrew president Hosni Mubarak.

The Salafists, hardline Islamists who believe Muslims should follow only the practices of early Muslims, are divided between supporters and opponents of the relatively moderate Islamist President Mohamed Morsi.

Some of them claim they have recently become targets of the interior ministry after several of their activists were detained, in one case after a stabbing during a neighbourhood dispute that led to deadly clashes in Cairo.