By Heba Hesham
CAIRO: Over two dozen pro-reform police officers demonstrated outside the Ministry of Interior (MOI) Wednesday to demand approval for the establishment of a professional syndicate.
Members of the General Coalition of Police Officers announced earlier last month the launch of the General Syndicate for Police Officers. They aim to revive and reinforce the slogan “police is at the service of the people”, which has lost credibility in light of continued police abuse.
Through the syndicate, they want to improve the working conditions of officers as well as defend their interests and rights without discrimination.
Made during the Coalition’s celebration of its first anniversary, the initiative triggered the ire of security experts and the MOI, according to one of the founding members of the syndicate.
“The MOI summoned us for investigation as punishment for demanding our rights. They said we organized a ceremony which included civilians. I was also called to respond to claims that we are stoking divisions within the ministry,” said founding member Lieutenant Colonel Mohamed Nabil Omar.
Wednesday’s protest was to assert the officers’ rejection of the ministry’s policy in dealing with them, he said.
“They don’t want to listen to our demands and the minister doesn’t want to meet us,” Captain Ahmed Samir complained.
Major Ahmed Farouk told Daily News Egypt that they want to establish a syndicate that would act as a shield to officers who refuse to obey orders by their superiors that are against the law.
“We want to stop being a tool in the hands of the authorities. We will only serve citizens,” he said.
He added that police officers are demanding proper wages and justice in the distribution of the ministry’s resources.
Meanwhile, Major Ashraf El-Banna, founding member of the syndicate, called upon the ministry to release three Egyptian police officers he claimed were abducted under mysterious circumstances in Sinai.
“We have heard nothing about them since they were abducted. We are not even sure they’re alive,” he told reporters.
El-Banna said that the ministry should provide LE 1 million insurance for officers for the dangers they face on the job.
He said that the families of the martyrs of the police and civil martyrs who died during the uprising should be compensated.
At the protest, a number of police generals asked Omar to persuade the protesting officers to leave so as not to tarnish the image of the ministry.
“I said that we aren’t doing anything against the law or obstructing the work inside the ministry,” he told reporters.