By Youssef El Beshlawy
Pro-Morsi students organised a press conference at Rabaa Al-Adaweya on Sunday in parallel to the General Conference of the Egypt Student Union (ESU,) to demand recognition of the 8 July Republican Guard clashes.
The ESU’s conference, held at the University of Banha, aims to address several issues of student concern, such as the student list, universities’ security, professor-student relationship, but did not mention the 8 July violence.
Mustafa Saad, the vice president of Cairo University student union, said on Monday that almost all Egyptian universities are participating in the conference, including institutions from Cairo, Tanta, Assiut and Port Said
From the main stage in Rabaa Al-Adaweya Square, Ahmed Al-Baqri, vice-president of the ESU and president of Azhar Student Union, condemned the military intervention in the 30 June events.
He claimed that he spoke on behalf of the ESU’s Executive Office, and announced ”full support for the constitutional and electoral legitimacy of President Mohamed Morsi,” stressing that the actions of the military were a “de facto coup against the will of the Egyptian people.”
Ahmed Al-Baqri continued: “The ESU’s Executive Office met today to discuss support for President Morsi. The result was seven against two in favour of supporting the President and rejecting the ruinous coup. The Executive Office will issue a statement Monday to express support for the elected President Morsi.”
He denounced the arrest of three Muslim Brotherhood students at Al-Azhar University on 11 July, and deplored the Republican Guard clashes, saying that it took place ”in the era of putschists.”
Saad, however, said that these statements do not represent the ESU position.
“The Executive Office is not qualified to make such statements. Its nine members are supposed to only execute the 48-ESU General Assembly decisions, and take care of formal matters,” he explained.
He also stated that at the Banha conference, the students may issue a censure against Al-Baqri. Mohamed Badran, president of the ESU, participated in the 30 June demonstrations, and said that he never signed any statement supporting Morsi.
At Rabaa Al-Adaweya, the students showed videos condemning the military in the Republican Guard clashes. They stressed their determination and the peaceful nature of their protests, yet underlined their refusal of dialogue with the “traitorous leaders of the armed forces who suppressed legitimacy with their coup and murdered peaceful protesters.”
The press conference concluded with a statement in Arabic, followed by English, in which they demanded the punishment of those responsible of the massacre, the restoration of Morsi and of ‘legitimacy’ and the release of all the detainees (especially the students) held since Morsi’s ouster.
The group called for a student march from Rabaa Al-Adaweya on Sunday at 10.30 pm, and one of the students said that a ‘global student event’ would take place soon.