Egypt has fired almost 600 top police officers as part of a clean up the discredited and widely unpopular police force.

The decision, announced on Wednesday by Interior Minister Mansour el-Issawi, meets a key demand by protesters camping out at Cairo's central Tahrir Square.

El-Issawi said that the move was the biggest reshuffle in the history of the Egyptian police force.

The number expelled also includes officers who were already at retirement age.

Of those leaving, 37 are specifically accused of being involved in the killing of protesters during the January 25 uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's former president, from power.

Among those dismissed were 505 major-generals and 82 brigadiers, Egyptian state television reported.

The protesters want the police force to be purged of Mubarak loyalists and officers involved in the killing of nearly 900 protesters during the January 25 crackdown.

Nod to protesters

Egypt's state news agency also said on Wednesday that parliamentary elections that had been widely expected to be held in September will now take place a month or two later.

The military, which took over power from Mubarak, effectively announced a delay of the elections on Tuesday when it said preparations for the vote would start September 30.

The delay is seen as a nod to the demands of some of the protesters.

Many of the political parties that arose from the uprising wanted to have the vote delayed so they could compete more effectively against better prepared and financed parties like the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice party.

The military also said on Tuesday it would draft a set of regulations for selecting the 100-member assembly that will write a new constitution.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies