A man attempted suicide on Monday as approximately 20 people gathered in front of the Supreme Court to commend the police’s work and criticize protests planned for Police Day to take place Tuesday.
The incident follows a series of suicide attempts in Egypt triggered by the case of Mohamed Bouazizi, a Tunisian man whose decision to set himself on fire in government protest spurred revolution in Tunisia that led to the ousting of its president, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.
The Egyptian Association for the Defense of Police and Citizens planned the demonstration to show its gratitude to the police forces, which they said “allow us to go to sleep feeling safe.”
The event came on the eve of a planned nation-wide protest demanding the dismissal of Minister of Interior Habib al-Adly, whose security apparatus is accused of torture and other human rights abuses. During the gathering, a man cut his wrists before a crowd of journalists and photographers.
Participants continued the event after he was transferred to the hospital. They waved Egyptian flags and played the national anthem from a sound system located in a nearby car as police forces watched from a distance. They labeled Minister of Interior Habib al-Adly “Egypt’s number one defender of human rights.”
The association’s president, Samir al-Sheshtawy, expressed gratitude to Adly and Ismail al-Shaer, Cairo’s security head, whom he said “allows anyone to say whatever he wants.”
“The police’s performance this year was outstanding amid tough conditions, and if some violations occurred, perpetrators were punished,” al-Sheshtawy told Al-Masry Al-Youm.
“We are demanding from the police more of their good performance and good treatment in police stations,” says Farouk al-Seweify, an association member.
Al-Sheshtawy claimed that the people calling for protests on Police Day were corrupted by foreign influence and were trying to distort Egyptian history.
People shouted “Habib al-Adly is the hero who protects Egypt from danger” and “Habib, hit with an iron fist!” In reaction to the anti-government protests planned for Police Day on Tuesday, protestors shouted, “Get mad losers! Egypt is safe.”
The call for nation-wide protests demanding Adly’s dismissal, among other things, has gained some popularity among politicians and the public.
Adly fell under harsh criticism following the arbitrary police killing of Khaled Saeed, a young Alexandrian who allegedly possessed a video depicting a drug deal between policemen. Adly has also been criticized for allowing the Alexandria church blast, which killed more than 20 people, to occur.