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Saudi Religious Police brutality 22, December 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Saudi Arabia.
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Saudi Jeans, one of the preeminent Saudi Arabian blogs, has a simple, short story recounting the brutal tactics of Saudi’s religious police.

So few days ago in Dammam some members of the religious police somehow got the impression that they could storm a women’s public restroom on the courniche to arrest someone. They went in and moments later emerged dragging a girl who was crying, screaming and begging them to leave her alone. She tried to run away but fell on the ground. The Haya’a men apparently thought it was okay to hit and kick her, so they did that in the street while people were watching, then they carried her and threw her in the back of their jeep.

Is any commentary really needed? All that needs to be pointed out is that this is hardly the first time.

Egyptian Army v Police 13, March 2009

Posted by thegulfblog.com in Egypt.
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There is a very good piece of analysis of the recent army attack on the police in Egypt over at MEI Editor’s blog. The BBC reported that army cadets attacked a police station after one of their number was apparently mistreated. Michael Collins Dunn makes the following points:

– It is rare for the police and army to mix, usually being assiduously separated.

– The army are rarely used for internal order issues.  The few notable exceptions being after the 1986 Central Security Forces riot, after the 1977 bread riots and after the 1997 killing of tourists in Luxor.

– It suggests that police brutality/bullying is widespread in society. If they treat the army like this, this does not auger well for how they treat ordinary members of the public.

– The fact that the Egyptian government strictly ordered all the press in Egypt – independent and government alike – not to report the incident, highlights just how seriously they are taking the incident. Also, as Collins Dunn points out, it shows how the government “have yet to come to terms with cell phone cameras and video sharing media. The days when a government could keep this sort of news from leaking are gone, except in countries like Saddam’s Iraq or North Korea where computer ownership was tightly regulated.”

Excellent stuff.