Rank-and-file Egyptian police officers staged a protest rally in Cairo on Sunday voicing their demands for higher wages and more benefits. Ironically, they were breaking the Egyptian government's new law against protests which these same cops have been enforcing in the still troubled Muslim nation, according to Jacob Calabre, a former police commander and now an associate professor of police science at Kaplan International College.
Only 200 patrol officers were given a permit for their demonstration at a police association office complex in downtown Cairo. The officers were prepared to meet with superior officials to discuss their demands.
"These Egyptian cops are being given a lot of sympathy from law enforcement officers throughout the world including the United States. They are fighting terrorists, protesters and thugs each day with targets painted on their backs by Islamist terrorists," says Prof. Calabre.
When their request for a meeting appeared to be ignored by their commanders, they began a protest march
to the offices of the Interior Ministry building thereby participating in an unlawful demonstration. Security sources said they shoved barricades at fellow officers of the security detail outside offices, before the protesters were allowed to continue their march, the fourth this year.
Meanwhile, the protesting police officers' fellow cops were busy confronting supporters of Muslim Brotherhood leader and deposed president, Mohamed Morsi. The police officers used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the protesters most of whom came from al-Azhar and Mansoura Universities.
Police officers have already arrested thousands of Morsi’s radical Muslim supporters have continued staging rallies calling for his reinstatement since he was ousted by the Egyptian military in July 2013. The army-backed transitional government had passed the new law regulating public gatherings and their police forces have been enforcing the strict regulations for public gatherings and displays.
Police and security forces in Egypt have fired tear gas and used water cannons in order to disperse unruly crowds since Morsi's ouster. On Thursday, Egyptian officials ordered three well-regarded activists to be arrested and tried for unlawful protesting and related activities.
One of them, leading dissident Ahmed Maher, was formally charged with the crime of protesting without permission.