Reporting from Cairo — Egypt fired more than 600 high-ranking police officers Wednesday in a purge aimed at appeasing thousands of antigovernment protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square amid deepening divisions over wiping away the remnants of former President Hosni Mubarak's regime.
The move came on the same day the military council ruling the country announced that parliamentary elections planned for September would be delayed until October or November. The postponement will help new political parties challenge the more experienced Muslim Brotherhood, which was expected to win at least 25% of the seats in parliament.
Secular parties had pressed for a delay, fearing that a parliament heavily influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood's conservative agenda would threaten human rights and religious tolerance. The Islamist organization's reach may be further diminished by new regulations for choosing the 100-member assembly that will draft a new constitution.
The firing of 669 police officers was the biggest reshuffle in the Interior Ministry's history. It includes 505 brigadier generals, 82 colonels and 37 officers charged in the deaths of hundreds of protesters during the weeks-long revolution that overthrew Mubarak on Feb. 11.