Protesters Are Awesome: Volunteer Force Is Taking Over Egypt's Municipal Jobs

A new Egyptian volunteer force is taking to the streets to restore some order in the midst of growing chaos.

Not only have Egyptians teamed up to protect their museums and libraries in the country's time of great need, civic-minded citizens of all ages are now even taking up municipal duties, which have fallen by the wayside while the government undergoes massive changes.

Led by Majd Mardini, a 37-year-old small-business owner with an affinity for Che Guevara, the Popular Committee for the Protection of Properties and Organization of Traffic began in Alexandria when Mardini noticed an ambulance was having trouble navigating a crowd of protesters. He took it upon himself to clear the foot traffic so the ambulance could get its injured occupants to a hospital more quickly, and the PCPPOT was born.

The organization now counts dozens of members amongst its ranks, everyone from students to 40-year-old dentists. Divided into four branches—traffic, cleanup, protection, and emergency response—the PCPPOT often provides lightly armed guards (think pipes and knives) to walk women and children home at night and protect important utilities like water and power. If they catch a criminal, the team will hold him until the proper authorities can come pick him up.

"We want to show the world that we can take care of our country, and we are doing it without the government or police," Khalid Toufik, a PCPPOT volunteer told The New York Times. "It doesn’t matter if one is a Muslim or a Christian, we all have the same goal."

photo (cc) via Flickr user Collin David Anderson