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Egypt doctors stage strikes, slam police brutality in Cairo

Egyptian doctors stage a strike against police brutality in the capital, Cairo, on February 20, 2016.

Egyptian doctors have staged a strike in the capital, Cairo, to protest an attack by policemen against doctors at a hospital in the city last month.

On Saturday, hundreds of Egyptian doctors launched a one-hour strike in front of their hospitals to demand justice for the police officers who reportedly assaulted two doctors in Cairo's Matariya Hospital in January.

A statement by the Egyptian Medical Syndicate said the protesters called for a secure work environment for doctors and the drafting of legislation to impose heavy penalties on those who assault doctors.

The statement added that “justice is the cornerstone of stability” and that “no one is above the law.” 

The protesters also called for the protection of health staff against mistreatment by police and security forces.

"No action was taken against the assailant policemen. The prosecution released them on bail and as far as we're concerned, that's nothing - we haven't been given our dues as far as we are concerned, at all. This is the start of further injustice?" a demonstrator said.

Reports said two policemen violently forced the doctors into a vehicle after another one pulled out his gun and threatened the health staff in Matariya, including the nurses. The hospital said eight nurses and a security guard were also attacked in the incident.

A video later emerged on the social media showing plainclothesmen grabbing a doctor while pushing and hitting the staff of the hospital. Police officers were also seen later in the footage doing the same with another doctor and employees.

Meanwhile, the state-run al-Ahram newspaper said the strikes were not limited to Cairo hospitals, as doctors protested in Alexandria, Sohag, Suez, Assiut, Fayoum, Luxor, Damietta and other governorates.

On February 12, the Egyptian Medical Syndicate held an emergency meeting, calling for the prosecution of police officers involved in the assault. The syndicate said if the officers involved are not brought to trial they would continue to protest.

Egyptian doctors gather outside their syndicate in Cairo on February 12, 2016, to protest against an assault by policemen on two of their colleagues in a public hospital last month. © AFP photo

On Friday, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said he would introduce new laws to contain police abuse inside the country.

He urged the country's Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Gaffar to submit proposals to the parliament on police accountability.

The announcement came a day after hundreds of people protested outside Cairo’s police headquarters following the shooting death of a 24-year-old taxi driver by a police officer during a brawl over the fare.

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