Demonstrations in front of doctors' syndicate (Photo: Mai Shaheen)
Striking Egyptian doctors on Thursday attempted to stage a protest march from the Egyptian Doctors Syndicate in downtown Cairo to the nearby Ministry of Health. Due to intervention by security forces, however, marching doctors were forced to change their final destination to the Cabinet building near Cairo's Tahrir Square.
A number of Egyptian doctors began their countrywide strike on 21 October at hospitals affiliated to the health ministry. They are demanding an increase of the national minimum wage for doctors and that the amount allocated to healthcare in this year's state budget be raised to 15 per cent.
After security forces blocked their path, marching doctors were forced to change their final destination to Cabinet headquarters in downtown Cairo.
According to organisers, Thursday's march represented the "next step of escalation" after weeks of having their demands ignored by the government.
Health ministry officials, for their part, say the strike has not affected the nation's hospitals, contradicting statements by strike organisers associated with the doctors syndicate.
A handful of political parties and movements announced their solidarity with the striking doctors' Thursday march, including the April 6 Youth Movement, the National Association for Change, the Peaceful Change Front, the Popular Current, the Revolutionary Socialists and the newly-established Constitution and Strong Egypt parties.