Members of the Egyptian police special forces stand guard on Cairo’s landmark Tahrir Square on January 25, 2016 (AFP)
CAIRO – 25 January 2018: The reason January 25 is Police Day in Egypt dates back to 1952 when 50 policemen were killed and 80 were wounded in Ismailia by the British colonization. The massacre was the spark of the revolution that ended the monarchy in Egypt on July 23 of the same year.
Few months before the incident, the armed struggle against the British camps and soldiers culminated, resulting in huge losses. Suppliers abstained from providing food necessary to 80,000 British soldiers.
Egyptian workers at the British camps - whose number was 91,572 - quit their jobs, registering their resignations between October 16 and November 30 in 1951, after the government had announced earlier that workers wishing to leave their jobs in British camps are invited to register their names in the records, according to Al Masry Al Youm.
As the status of British forces in the Suez Canal governorates has become critical, Brigadier Kenneth Exham, the British commander warned Egypt’s police to leave Ismailia and surrender their weapons while 7,000 British soldiers equipped with machine guns, tanks and armors surrounded the governorate building and its barracks.
The nearly 800 Egyptian officers and soldiers inside resented the threat and resisted despite possessing only shotguns, according to Al Masry Al Youm. After the clashes were over, those who survived from the Egyptian officers were captured by the British forces; then the British forces destroyed the villages around Ismailia and killed civilians as the British suspected that the citizens engaged in the armed struggle against the colonization hid in those villages.
As a result, protests broke out across Cairo calling up for intensifying the armed struggle against the British colonization whose troops withdrew completely from Egypt in June 1956.
After the 1952 Revolution, January 25 has been celebrated as Police Day and has become an official holiday. Six years ago, the day witnessed a revolution as well.
Millions of Egyptians took to the streets in the January 25 Revolution that lasted over 18 days in 2011. Their motto was “Bread, Freedom, and Social Justice”. Only patriotic slogans were chanted without mentioning any parties or ideological slogans.
The date marking the historic uprising, which protested police brutality, coincides with the Police Day. The protests were organized by the “We are all Khaled Said” Facebook page named after a torture victim in Alexandria. Said was beaten to death in the street by policemen on June 6, 2010 for allegedly possessing drugs.
On the Friday of Fury (January 28, 2011), the crowds started to chant “the people want to overthrow the regime” until former President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak resigned on February 11 of the same year. The protests resulted in clashes that broke out between security forces and protesters, leading to casualties in both sides.
In the transitional period, the Islamists gained power, especially the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, as they gained the majority of seats in the Parliament and one of their leaders became president on June 30, 2012.
A new constitution was set in 2013 before former President Mohamed Morsi was ousted over mass protests from June 30 to July 3 of the same year. The 2013 constitution was halted as a new constitution was drafted and passed in January 2014 through a referendum.
Few months later on June 8, 2014, former Defense Minister Abdel Fatah al-Sisi was elected president after quitting service at the Egyptian Armed Forces as a field marshal.
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