We are protesting to denounce the government’s use of the same ideology we saw under Hosni Mubarak’s regime: an ideology which consists of replacing political solutions with repression and using the police force to carry it out. The revolution hasn’t made a difference.
A sit-in in Mansour, in north-east Egypt. The policemen say they are ‘on the people’s side’
Egyptians are protesting to demand political, economic and social reforms. They’re protesting against the government. And instead of facing up to its responsibilities itself, they are making the police the people’s enemy because the police are forced to represent the government. So the protesters lash out against us and we retaliate, fuelling a vicious cycle of violence.
We are, as much as the protesters, victims of the country’s political crisis. Police stations are set on fire and policemen are dying. We’re bearing the brunt of the government’s mistakes. So to say, like the Interior Minister did, that the police should be distanced from political conflicts, is completely unrealistic.
The government has to understand that the solution to the political crisis cannot come from the police; it has to come from the state’s institutions. The police force’s role is to maintain order, not to make up for the lack of government reforms or calm the general public’s anger.
“It's not up to us to be at the beck and call of the party in power.”
The policemen who are on-strike are calling themselves the ‘March 7th Movement’, referring to the day when the first strikes began (Editor’s note: a spokesman for the movement has suggested March 7th become a national ‘Police Day’). We’re calling for the resignation of the Interior Minister, and we want to rid the entire Interior Ministry of those who favour a politics based on police force. We want new leaders who will give the police back their rightful position in society.
The role of the Egyptian police is to defend state establishments and institutions, and not to be at the beck and call of the party in power.