Egyptian military personnel currently deployed in Port Said will protect the Port Said Security Directorate but will not perform police duties, army spokesman Ahmed Ali announced on Friday.

Earlier the same day, police forces withdrew from the restive canal city, including from the local security directorate, around which sporadic clashes between anti-government protesters and police have recently taken place.

Ali went on to say that Port Said residents had begun to form ‘popular committees’ to clean up the city in the wake of the clashes and provide security in conjunction with the armed forces.

According to Ahram Online’s Simon Hanna in Port Said, police officers have completely disappeared from the streets of the city on Friday.

Military police personnel have been directing traffic alongside civilians, Hanna said.

“We extend our thanks to the people of Port Said for cooperating with the Second Army and for their efforts to secure and stabilise the city,” Ali said.

source: http://english.ahram.org.eg