Several people gathered at the Cairo security directorate to protest the shooting and eventual death of a taxi driver by a police officer, after an argument over the sergeant’s fare for his ride. The officer had verbally insulted the driver and when the latter objected, the policeman shot him in the head. The taxi driver’s death has been referred to by authorities as a mistake. It was reported that this outburst was as a result of the latest case of alleged police brutality in the country.
Police brutality seems to be an ongoing matter of concern in Egypt as there have been many related incidences before now. For instance, on February 12, 2016, hundreds of Egyptian doctors gathered in front of the doctor’s syndicate to hold an urgent general assembly session. The gathering discussed recent police abuse cases against a number of Matariya Hospital doctors.
As a way of expressing their grievances, doctors demanded that no armed person other than security personnel enter any medical facility. Director of Matariya Hospital, Momen Zakariya, who has been attacked by police officers, called for banning police officers from arresting a doctor on duty. “If it weren’t for the security cameras, I wouldn’t have managed to prove my case when police officers took me away,” Zakariya said.
The fact that a taxi driver has been mistakenly killed by a police officer and people in Cairo are protesting strikes a similar picture to what happened in June 2010 when Khalid Saeed was tortured to death by two police officers. While justifying his arrest, police officers claimed Saeed was “wanted for theft and weapons possession and that he resisted arrest.”
According to elshaheed.co.uk, several eye witnesses described how Khalid was taken by the two policemen into the entrance of a residential building where he was brutally punched and kicked. The two policemen banged his head against the wall, the staircase and the entrance steps until he died. Saeed’s death was one of the reasons for the widespread protests in Egypt in 2011 as many came out to protest against police brutality, amongst other things like the state of emergency laws, electoral fraud and unemployment. The protests lasted from January 25, 2011 to February 11, 2011, the day Hosni Mubarak resigned as president and handed over power to the army.
Ever since the taxi driver’s death however, it seems Egyptians are now more than ever, ready to express their displeasure against the prevailing police brutality in the country. Just like what happened in the case of Khalid Saeed in 2011, could this be another revolution in the making?