Low-ranking Egyptian policemen strike in several governorates

Mahmoud El-Desouki in Qena, Emad Abu Zeid in Beni Sueif , Saturday 8 Feb 2014

Protesters threaten to call for minister of interior's dismissal if demands go unmet

Mohamed Ibrahim
Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim (Photo: Al-Ahram )

Hundreds of low-ranking police officers went on strike on Saturday in at least seven Egyptian governorates to protest poor working conditions and low financial compensation.

The strike, called for by the general association for low-ranking police officers, took place in several governorates.

Protesters are demanding better wages, compensations for risks they are subjected to, and better working conditions.

In Upper Egypt’s Qena, around three hundred people supporting the strike gathered in front of the governorate's security directorate after they failed to close its gates.

Protesters told Ahram Online that they have no political or religious affiliations. They also alleged that the results of the police club's elections were forged.

They also expressed their rejection of a recent ministerial decision that gives the National Security apparatus the power to write reports assessing low-ranking officers. The procedure was held by the notorious State Security apparatus, the predecessor of National Security, and was stopped after the January 25 revolution.

Protesters also demanded to be treated equally with other police officers, who they claim are not subjected to the same level of danger.

Some of security officials failed to talk the protesters out of their strike, despite promising that the the minister of interior will be holding a meeting in February to look into their demands.

In Beni Sueif, around 100km south of Cairo, around 500 protesters assembled in front of the governorate's security directorate.

Protesters complained to Ahram Online of being mistreated by the police. They also threatened of a possible escalation if their demands are not met.

In the Nile Delta’s Kafr El-Sheikh, the gates of the security directorate was locked by protesters who demanded the dismissal of colleagues who they accuse of being corrupt.

According to state-owned news agency MENA, demonstrators urged the Minister of the Interior Mohamed Ibrahim to answer their demands, and threatened to call for his dismissal and the head of the low-ranking officers' affairs, if he did not respond to their demands.

They also barred any police officers from entering the security headquarters.

According to MENA, the protesters accuse colleagues who they describe as "traitors" of being unlawfully deployed in special locations, being granted free Islamic pilgrimage trips, and hiring their own relatives.

In Menoufiya governorate in the Delta, protesters chanted against the ministry's policies and demanded that they be granted a minimum wage.

They also shut down police stations in several towns in the governorate and refused to negotiate with the director of criminal investigation.

Demonstrators at a protest in Suez demanded an end to military trials, implementation of a minumum wage and to have their wives added to their medical insurance, which is provided by the interior ministry.

In Qalioubiya, protesters managed to lock the security building’s gates and demanded “the purging of the ministry from corruption”.

A similar protest took place in Beheira governorate in the Nile Delta.

Since 2011, low-ranking officers have held frequent demonstrations to protest deteriorating working conditions, low salaries, and a lack of safety.

In March 2013, a nationwide police protest and lockdown took place as police demanded the sacking of Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim, who was appointed by then-president Mohamed Morsi. The minister successfully quelled the protests by meeting some of the demands, which included the arming of low-ranking police officers.

Ibrahim also agreed to facilitate administrative requirements for low-ranking personnel to be promoted, and is planning to accept 1,500 low-ranking officers for the "officers of honour" cadre.

He has also formed a special committee to look into increasing end-of-service rewards for low-ranking officers.

Ibrahim remained head of the ministry in Egypt’s interim cabinet, formed after the ouster of Mohamed Morsi on 3 July.

Dozens of security and army forces have been killed since July 2013 in militant attacks that target the security forces.

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