Sunday, February 21, 2016

Egypt's Doctors Stage Silent Stand Throughout the Country
Marina Barsoum
Ahram Online
Saturday 20 Feb 2016

Doctors across Egypt staged a one-hour-silent stand over the alleged attack by policemen on doctors at a Cairo hospital last month

Hundreds of Egyptian doctors staged on Saturday a one-hour stand in front of their hospitals over the January attack by policemen on doctors at Cairo’s Matariya Hospital.

On 28 January 2016, a number of policemen allegedly assaulted two doctors at Matariya Hospital after one of the doctors refused to include fake injuries in a medical report for one of the policemen.

A statement by the Doctors Syndicate said the Saturday demonstrations called for a secure work environment for doctors, holding assailants accountable, and the drafting of legislation imposing 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.”

Member of the Doctors Syndicate and a staff doctor at Matariya Hospital Hani Mehana told Ahram Online that more than 100 doctors participated in Saturday's silent stand inside the hospital.

"Work at the hospital was not disrupted at all by our one-hour stand, the decision by the syndicate was for all hospitals to hold the protest prior to working hours," says Mehana.

Mehana said that all hospital doctors were supporting the stand and that Doctors Syndicate undersecretary Mona Mina participated in the Matariya Hospital demonstration.

"We began our stand by 8:30 am local time,” said Mehana, adding that after the stand “we started our work at the hospital as usual."

Day of Dignity

The silent stands were not limited to Cairo hospitals, as doctors protested in hospitals in Alexandria, Sohag, Suez, Assiut, Fayoum, Luxor, Damietta and other governorates.

Photos from hospitals in these governorates were posted on the official website for the Doctors Syndicate.

Dr Mohamed Mokhtar, one of the participants in the silent stand at Gamal Abdel-Nasser Health Insurance Hospital, told Al-Ahram Arabic news website that "we want to send our message in a peaceful way and we will abide by all decisions made by the syndicate’s general assembly."

The secretary-general to the Doctors Syndicate in Suez Tamer El-Bouhi said "we stand in support of our Matariya colleagues who were assaulted by policemen. We stand for the implementation of justice for all doctors."

What's next?

"We are all waiting for action to be taken concerning the incident that took place in our hospital, we are waiting for the police officers to be referred to court," said Mehana.

Saturday's silent stand is the first decision put into action out of several measures announced by the Doctors Syndicate general assembly addressing the assault.

The general assembly, which convened on Friday 12 February, decided on measures including providing medical service to citizens for free at public hospitals.

Starting 27 February, prescribed medicines will be dispensed from public hospitals free of charge.

The syndicate also called on physicians operating private practices to show solidarity by either closing their clinics or providing free treatment on 19 March, Egypt's National Doctor Day.

In response to the recent outcry over police violence, Egypt's interior minister said on Saturday that the ministry is not and will not be a protector of those who do not “understand the message of security,” and will not shield anyone who abuses his power or violates a citizen’s rights.

“The ministry will hold accountable all violators and will not tolerate these irresponsible acts that do not reflect the ministry’s policies,” the statement added.

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