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Egyptian police hold rare protests to demand they not be used as political tool

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Egyptian protesters throw stones while security police open water cannons on them from inside the grounds of the presidential palace during a demonstration in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, Feb. 11, 2013. Security forces sprayed protesters with water hoses and tear gas outside the presidential palace Monday as Egyptians marked the second anniversary of autocrat Hosni Mubarak’s ouster with angry demonstrations against his elected successor.(AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)The Associated Press

Hundreds of low-ranking policemen in Egypt are holding protests to demand they not be used as a tool for political oppression in the country's ongoing turmoil.

Dozens of policemen rallied Tuesday outside local security administration headquarters in at least 10 provinces. Some of them carried signs reading, "we are innocent of the blood of the martyrs."

Although small, the protests marked a rare instance of dissent by Egypt's police force. The rallies reflect fears among many policemen of a public backlash after weeks of violent crackdowns on anti-government protests.

Rights activists allege that police have used excessive force against the latest wave of protests that started on the eve of the second anniversary of the 2011 Egyptian 2011 uprising that toppled longtime President Hosni Mubarak.