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Official says Egypt's interior ministry will issue 100,000 9mm pistols to police amid dissent

An Egyptian security official says the interior ministry will supply policemen with 100,000 new 9mm pistols, after many complained about a lack of firepower.

The official says the decision was made after studying the demands of policemen who said they could not properly defend themselves against increased lawlessness following the ouster of longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak two years ago. The official spoke on condition of anonymity Saturday because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Policemen have gone on strike in recent weeks and protested what they say are poor working conditions and continuous attacks against them by armed thugs.

The move is likely to be criticized by rights groups who say policemen are operating with impunity and using excessive force against protesters.