An agreement between police in Egypt who have been on strike and higher-ranking security officials may have been reached, according to conflicting reports Sunday evening, Ahram Online, an Egyptian news outlet, reported. Scores of policemen have been staging demonstrations in Egypt, demanding better employment benefits and that outstanding bonuses be paid, in a rare show of protest since President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi came to power last year.
Protesting officers clashed with riot police over the weekend, forcing six police stations in Egypt’s Nile Delta to close and breaking into the security directorate in a protest against the authorities’ failure to meet their demands. Security forces reportedly fired tear-gas in an attempt to disperse protesters, Al Jazeera English reported. The officers, on strike since Saturday, responded by firing warning shots into the air.
At least four people were reportedly injured in the clashes, as police officers chanted slogans calling for the dismissal of high-ranking government officials, including the country’s interior minister. The protests over the weekend marked a rare public show of discontent toward a government that has increasingly sought to outlaw dissent.
A controversial law was issued in 2013 outlawing all unlicensed protest activity in the country.
While Sisi’s government has garnered considerable support throughout the country for its ability to establish calm following years of financial and political instability, his government has been accused by human rights organizations of egregious rights violations, including handing down mass death sentences to opponents.
The Interior Ministry responded to protests over the weekend by accusing demonstrating police officers of being supported by the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group, Middle East Monitor reported. The group, once an influential grassroots organization, has been subjected to a bitter crackdown by the current government since it came to power last year. Members of the group continue to contest Sisi's right to rule, insisting his 2013 ousting of the democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Morsi was illegal.
Protest organizers denied any connection with the banned group.