CAIRO: Dozens of low-ranking policemen held a Sunday demonstration in the Sharqia Security Directorate in the Delta in solidarity with seven of their colleagues who were arrested Saturday over “sedition,” Youm7 reported.
The seven policemen were arrested outside the Egyptian Media Production City (EMPC) in 6th of October city in Giza while en route to an interview with anchor Wael al-Ibrashi on his program “10 p.m.” on Dream TV.
Those arrested include policeman Mansour Abou Gabal, who was the organizer of a high-profile strike by those with the rank of “Amin Shorta,” the term for police corporals who enter the force without graduating from the Police Academy. The protest in Sharqia in August 2015 demanded improved working conditions, a security source at Giza Security Directorate told Youm7.
The 2013 protest law, under which thousands of civilians have been detained, was not enforced against the protesting and striking policemen in the 2015 incident.
The 2013 legislation prohibits any demonstration without prior authorization from security forces.
Meanwhile, policemen in Sharqia, excluding regular officers, have expressed their intention to strike, while the families of the seven detainees will hold a sit-in at Sharqia Security Directorate, Mahmoud Mokhtar, brother of detained policeman Ismail Mokhtar, told Youm7.
Security at the facility has been intensified by units of Central Security Forces, an anti-rioting force affiliated with the Interior Ministry usually deployed to counter protests by civilians and the police. Sharqia Security Director Hassan Seif has negotiated with the policemen, Youm7 reported.
Ibrashi was planning to interview the policemen regarding multiple accusations of police brutality in recent months around the nation. Most recently, a low-ranking policeman shot a taxi driver in the head after an argument over the fee on Thursday in Cairo; he has been referred to a criminal court.
It is not the first time guests have been arrested in the vicinity of the EMPC.
In January 2015, Mahmoud Shabaan, an Al-Azhar instructor known for his support to former President Mohamed Morsi, was arrested following an interview with Ibrashi. The anchor condemned the detention after accusations that he “turns his guests” over to the police. Shabaan was released, yet detained a few days later.
Nearly 50 years of a 2-tiered police force
Amin Shorta corporals outnumber officers who graduated from the traditional Police Academy; regular officers enjoy more privileges and are understood to have and come from a higher social status. They are, however, few compared to the low-ranking policemen, as about 450,000 low-ranking corporals and 37,000 officers are serving in the country, according to Youm7.
The rank of Amin Shorta was introduced into Egypt by late President Gamal Abdel Nasser in the late 1967 to counter civil unrest following the defeat in the Six-Day War.
After 24 years of service, a police corporal may apply to be promoted to First Lieutenant and become a regular officer, but could be rejected.
The government is reportedly trying to curb low-ranking policemen; it closed the low-ranking policemen institute in 2010 and is enforcing early retirements, meanwhile, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi introduced a new position, a police aide, in December 2014, according to Youm7.
Applicants to the new positions should be 19-23 years old and those with a preparatory school degree will be accepted.
Soldiers of the Central Security Forces have little education or are illiterate, and they are not permanent personnel because they only serve their conscription of 1-3 years.