Doctors held silent stands across the country on Saturday against police assaults in Egypt’s public hospitals.
They raised signs demanding harsher punishments for police who assault doctors and better hospital security, among others.
The Doctors Syndicate had announced Saturday would be a “day of dignity,” calling on doctors across the country to hold protests in public hospitals against a spate of recent assaults on medical staff.
The ongoing movement, spearheaded by the Doctors Syndicate, was initiated when low-ranking policemen assaulted a doctor at Matareya Hospital last month after he refused to falsify a medical record in their favor.
Matareya Hospital consequently closed temporarily and staged a number of strikes, with solidarity from doctors nationwide, as well as other professional syndicates. The Doctors Syndicate held an extraordinary general assembly meeting earlier this month, which around 10,000 doctors attended. They voted in favor of 18 resolutions, including nationwide protests in public hospitals on Saturday February 20.
The syndicate also demanded the health minister be fired for failing to protect doctors from abuse.
The syndicate published pictures of Saturday’s silent stand in hospitals across the country, including Cairo, Alexandria and Upper Egypt. Doctors are seen in the images holding signs demanding safety and dignity. Among other central demands are the punishment of police personnel for assaulting doctors and a law criminalizing attacks on hospitals.
Doctors have threatened to escalate their protests and strike action if their demands aren’t met, Ihab Taher, secretary general of the Doctors Syndicate, told Mada Masr. He added that they would also treat citizens free of charge starting next Saturday to expose “lies” from the government about medical care and show loyalty to patients. Both decisions were passed at the recent general assembly meeting.
On the agenda for the next general assembly meeting, scheduled for March 25, is the subject of mass resignations if doctors’ demands are not adequately addressed.