Striking Egyptian policemen storm provincial police station

Striking Egyptian policemen storm provincial police station
Egyptian policemen in Sharqiya province have gone on strike and attempted to storm a police station, in a rare show of protest since president Sisi came to power last year.
3 min read
24 August, 2015
Protesting policemen closed six police stations in Sharqiya province [Getty]
Scores of “lower-ranking” policemen have been staging demonstrations since Saturday in Egypt's Nile Delta to demand outstanding bonuses are paid and that they are provided with medical treatment in police hospitals.

The protesting policemen closed six police stations in Sharqiya province and stormed into the security directorate to protest against the authorities' failure to meet their demands.

“We organised the protest to demand that we are provided places to receive medical treatment and decent salaries that we can support our families on,” rank-and-file policeman Mansour Abu Gabal told al-Araby al-Jadeed’s Arabic service.

“We are also demanding that Interior Minister Magdy Abd al-Ghaffar be fired from his job and amendments be made to our pension plans” Abu Gabal added.

Security forces at the headquarters responded by firing tear gas to disperse the crowd of low-ranking service members, of whom four have been reported injured.

The state-run news agency MENA quoted an anonymous security source as saying the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood have instigated and funded the ongoing strike - a claim dismissed by protesters.

“The claims that the Brotherhood are behind the protests are totally groundless. They are just trying to pin random accusations on the policemen, who are demanding their rights,” policeman Hosni Mahmoud told al-Araby al-Jadeed.

“The ministry gives police officers good salaries and grants them many benefits. We’re asking the ministry to treat us all equally and to stop having double standards,” Mahmoud added.

The Alexandrian policemen's club released a statement supporting their colleagues in Sharqiya and calling on President Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi to intervene in order to end the ongoing crisis.

Ahmad Abdallah, a member of Sharqiya’s policemen coalition, said, “A final deadline must be given to implement the demands before policemen around the whole country go on strike, demanding reforms within the ministry.”

“Policemen are neutral and not driven by any political factions so as to gain the trust of Egyptians,” Abdallah added.

In February 2014, policemen protested in Alexandria and Kafr al-Sheikh to demand higher wages and better working conditions.

Two weeks ago, hundreds of civil servants protested in Cairo against a new unpopular law regulating their conditions of employment, in one of the largest demonstrations since anti-protest laws came into effect in 2013.

On Monday, A bomb struck a bus carrying policemen, killing two and wounding 24, officials said, the latest attack against security forces who are being targeted by Islamic State group [IS].

Militants have killed scores of police and soldiers since an Islamist insurgency swelled in the wake of the 2013 overthrow of president Mohamed Morsi, the country's first democratically elected president who took office following the 2011 ousting of long-time ruler Hosni Mubarak.