By Shane McGinley
Police violence was trigger behind Arab Spring uprisings, says Dubai Police chief
Police brutality of the form that triggered the uprising in Tunisia, sweeping Zine El Abidine Ben Ali from power and unleashing a wave of political unrest across the Arab world, would never happen in Dubai, the Gulf emirate’s chief of police said.
Lt General Dahi Khalfan Tamim said he had warned abuse of power by security forces in some Arab states would lead to revolution and criticised the actions of police in Tunisia.
“Practices by the people in law enforcement are causing protests,” he said in a speech at the Arabian Business Achievement Awards on Sunday in Dubai.
Tamim highlighted the case of 26-year-old Tunisian Mohamed Bouazizi, a street vendor who set fire to himself following a clash with local police last December. His death became the catalyst for Tunisia’s revolution, which brought an abrupt end to Ali’s 24-year presidency.
“Dubai Police would never commit something like that and it would never happen here,” Tamim said. “As law enforcement, we take care that any person should be respected regardless of their behaviour or intention.
“[We treat] people in a fair and decent way, and would never slap a man or woman.”
But Tamim, who said in August that the six GCC states needed an Interpol-like agency to improve security, admitted that the region had “many problems.”
“We need to tackle some issues,” he said, such as poverty and unemployment.
The outspoken police chief has previously discussed the root causes of the uprisings that rocked the Arab world, telling Arabian Business in August that government corruption had underpinned the protests.
“Corruption is and has been our priority and it is a vital issue in the Arab world too,” he said.
“There has been an unprecedented backlash because of the spread of corruption in these countries, and these protests in the street are the outcome of decades of rampant corruption.
“I wish that every government official would realize the fact that corruption is not a curse that will chase him only, but also will drag others along with him,” he added.
Tamim on Sunday also took aim at the region’s banks, calling them to account for their behaviour in the wake of the global financial crisis.
Lenders had ample liquidity during the downturn and had no excuse for tightening credit lines and damaging the region’s economy, he said.
“I have documents to prove that the banks were not suffering from a lack of capital or liquidity… These came to me from chairman and others,” he said.
As always, very wise comments from Lt General Dahi Khalfan Tamim. It is really a blessing to the UAE and its people to have a leader like him.