Security forces arrested Saturday seven leaders from the self-titled “coalition of low-ranking police officers” before they made an appearance on a private TV channel with host Wael El-Ebrashy, according to media reports.
El-Ebrashy has strongly condemned the arrest of the officers, saying it is a “crime” and is an act not befitting the Ministry of Interior.
In the wake of the arrest, many low-ranking police officers in the Sharqeya governorate organised a protest Sunday in front of the security directorate in solidarity with the arrested officers, demanding their immediate release, the privately-owned Al-Watan reported.
Citing a security source, the privately owned Al-Masry Al-Youm reported that security forces arrested the police officers, having received a tip that they were going to incite people against the Ministry of Interior. However, it is alleged that the group was simply going to speak about the problems facing low-ranking police officers.
According to the source, security forces moved immediately to arrest the officers before they made their TV appearance. Another group of low-ranking police officers allegedly blocked Al-Wahat road in response to the arrest.
The Ministry of Interior issued a statement denying the existence of a road block.
Several media outlets have reported that police officers will hold a general strike in the police stations and will suspend operations starting Monday.
The events comes amid a growing number of reported police abuses, which have sparked outrage among activists and citizens nationwide. Following the shooting of a civilian in Al-Darb Al-Ahmar by a low-ranking officer, small protests erupted near the Cairo Security Directorate.
The defendant was referred to the Criminal Court on Sunday, on charges of attempted murder.
Another officer killed his neighbour Saturday after a dispute escalated in Al-Khosoos. The prosecution arrested him four days ago, pending investigations on charges of murder. The defendant denied that he intended to shoot his neighbour.
In response to the violations by police officers, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi said Friday that all abuses of power by police should be properly dealt with via legal procedures. He added that the power given to the police officers should enable them to protect the lives of the citizens.
Al-Sisi further demanded that Minister of Interior Magdy Abdel Ghaffar issue new legislation to adjust security performance on the streets.
In response to Al-Sisi’s statement and demands, the general coordinator of police officers and civilians in the Ministry of Interior, Ahmed Mostafa, said low-ranking police officers will be closely watched to determine who must follow these new legislations.
The trial of civilians in military courts is against the law and the constitution, added Mostafa, moreover noting that any new legislation should be applied by all parties in the Ministry of Interior, not only low-ranking police officers.
“The closure of low-ranking police academy is the main reason behind the continuous violations; now anyone can join the Ministry of Interior regardless of their experience,” Mostafa added.
According to Mostafa, all violations are “individual cases” and do not represent the entire police force, reminding people that many officers have sacrificed with their lives for the sake of the state.
Low-ranking police officers reject any violations that may harm them or the police apparatus in general, said Mostafa.
Abdel Ghaffar said Friday that the ministry will be assertive and decisive with anyone who violates protocol, and will not protect them.
Awareness needs to be raised among police forces regarding how to treat citizens; these violations hinder the ministry’s attempts to fight crime effectively, and paint the ministry in a bad light, said Abdel Ghaffar.