Egyptian security forces teargas striking lower-ranking police officers in Sharqiya

Ahram Online , Sunday 23 Aug 2015

The officers respond by firing warning shots in the air

Lower ranking officers protest in Sharqiya on 23 August, 2015. (Photo: Ahram)

Lower-ranking police officers in Sharqiya demanded on Sunday the dismissal of the Minister of Interior Magdy Abdel-Ghaffar following clashes with Egypt’s Central Security Forces (CSF) earlier in the day.

Earlier on Sunday, Egyptian CSF soldiers fired tear gas to disperse lower-ranking police officers sitting in at Sharqiya’s security directorate.

The lower-ranking officers, who have been on strike for economic demands since Saturday, responded by firing warning shots into the air, prompting the CSF soldiers to flee the scene, Ahram Arabic news website reported.

Four injuries have been reported on both sides, Al-Ahram correspondent in Sharqiya told Ahram Online.

The protesting policemen are demanding unpaid bonuses for the months of June and July, along with access to the same hospitals used by their higher-ranking counterparts. 

Following the clashes, the lower-ranking officers demanded the dismissal of the Minister of Interior Magdy Abdel Ghaffar and Sharqiya’s security director General Khaled Abdel Rahman Yehia.

The protesters chanted “Leave!” in reference to the top police generals they want removed.

They also announced an open-ended sit-in at the directorate until all their demands are met.

A security source told Al-Ahram Arabic news website that the protesters stormed and vandalised several police generals’ offices. 

Earlier on Saturday, an unnamed security source told state news agency MENA members that the banned Muslim Brotherhood instigated the ongoing strike.

The security source claimed that members of the Brotherhood incited the lower-ranking policemen to protest and paid them to do so, leading to a halt in the services provided by several police stations in the governorate.

The source warned that the interior ministry "will take the necessary legal action against those who incited and participated in the strike."

The lower-ranking policemen’s club in Alexandria released a statement supporting their colleagues in Sharqiya and called on President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to interfere in order to end the ongoing crisis.

“If the Minister of Interior isn’t concerned with what’s happening, we now ask our guardian, the president, to interfere and resolve the calamity,” the statement said.

Alexandria's security director General Ahmed Higazi met with representatives from the lower-ranking policemen in Alexandria on Sunday afternoon after they threatened escalations in support of their Sharqiya colleagues. 

This is not the first time low-ranking policemen have held demonstrations for economic demands in Egypt.

Since the 2011 uprising, these policemen have protested deteriorating working conditions, low salaries, and a lack of safety on several occasions.

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


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