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"Policemen but honourable"

A group of policemen come out in support of the demonstrations and condemn the culture of brutality endemic in Egypt's security services

Dina Samak , Thursday 10 Feb 2011
Police face demonstrators in Cairo (Photo: Reuters)

Public outrage at the brutal tactics long employed by Egypt's security forces found full voice during the first four days of demonstrations. Out of the carnage of their image, a group of policemen have come together to denounce the practices of their colleagues and help open the way for a trust worthy police force.

"We are not a big group however we are not a small one either, but what we can say for sure is that we are against all the practices of the ministry of interior not only on 25 January, but before that." This is how high ranking officer Udisious, a pseudonym, described to Ahram Online the new group "Policemen but Honorable".

In a press statement by the group, they apologise for what Egypt has experienced and all the grievances it suffered throughout the past years. "We dissociate ourselves from the regime's mercenary who terrorized the innocent and used the criminals to instill fear in the heart of citizens by looting and robbery," says the statement. "We and the people will not leave those responsible and they will all be tried," it adds.

"For many years the regime depended on corrupting the police to guarantee its loyalty," says another officer, "but the state security police was the most corrupt and gained most of the privileges." For him many policemen are paying the price of such corruption and the lack of trust that increased deeply after the way the ministry of interior tried to oppress the first wave of demonstrations. "We need to make people believe that many policemen denounce these measures and support the revolution," he explains.

The members of this group have no political background and they try to be the eye of the revolution in reading the strategy of the regime towards the protesters everywhere around Egypt. They tried to warn of the attack that took place on Wednesday but they think that what happened was not as bad as they had expected and that the young people's courage in fighting the thugs attack managed to foil a card that the regime tried to use. "We expected the thugs to attack the protesters from the tunnels of the underground", says Udisious. "We did not know how the attack could take place but we were sure that it will happen."

But what about the future? Horus, a middle ranking officer who also did not wish to disclose his real name, says that the whole regime should change and the state of emergency has to end before protesters go home. "This is the only guarantee that the leaders of the revolution will not be arrested when they leave Tahrir Square". The emergency law that was extended for two more years last May has been criticized by many as a tool in the hands of the executive power to prevent many basic rights. "There are tens of thousands of political prisoners in Egypt and the regime will not have a problem in arresting hundreds more," says Horus, "that is why the state of emergency has to end before any negotiations."

As for the group, they know that there is a big price to be paid for speaking out if the regime stays. A price that many are not ready to risk paying.

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