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Protests continue in universities as police forces stand by campuses' gates - Daily News Egypt

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Protests continue in universities as police forces stand by campuses’ gates

Rival demonstrations in Al-Azhar University as Student Union declares "absolute rejection" to Cabinet's decision; AFTE fears the unwise usage of Cabinet-given power to chairmen

Egyptian policemen in plain clothes inspect the ransacked administration building of al-Azhar University in Cairo on Wednesday after protesting students stormed the university's offices and ransacked them.  (AFP PHOTO / KHALED KAMEL)
Egyptian policemen in plain clothes inspect the ransacked administration building of al-Azhar University in Cairo on Wednesday after protesting students stormed the university’s offices and ransacked them.

Protests continued in universities on Sunday as the Cabinet’s decision to locate Police forces at campuses’ gates come into action.

Anti-coup students at Al-Azhar University organised two demonstrations in front of the Agriculture and Engineering faculties. The demonstrations joined forces outside the university’s campus, according to university student Ayman Al-Sayyad.

Al-Sayyad added that the demonstrations blocked Youssef Abbas and Mostafa Al-Nahas streets in Nasr City for 30 minutes, they later returned to the university campus.

Minor skirmishes occurred between the anti-coup demonstration and police forces inside the campus as the demonstrators chanted against the army and Defence Minister Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi.

 Al-Sayyad and fellow student Ahmed Noor El-Din said that no injuries or arrests occurred.

A demonstration to support university chairman Osama Al-Abd took place at the Physical Education Faculty under the slogan “No to Vandalism”.

Al-Abd told the demonstrating students in his support to go attend their lectures.

Al-Sayyad said that both demonstrations did not clash, as their locations were far from each other.

However, the university’s student union held a meeting on Sunday afternoon and issued a statement demanding the immediate investigation of Wednesday‘s clashes and the “absolute rejection of police presence on the university campus”.

The union insisted on the students’ right to freely express their opinions peacefully and demanded the cancellation of all the disciplinary councils held for students.

The union described the protests that started with the beginning of school year on 19 October as peaceful and raised doubts that the “intruders” who broke into the university’s administrative building are not Al-Azhar students. The union also condemned “the strange disappearance of the university’s security personnel” amid the breaking-in.

The prosecutor general decided on Sunday to renew the detention of six Al-Azhar university students for 15 days pending interrogations regarding Wednesday’s clashes in the campus, state-owned Al-Ahram reported.

Al-Ahram reported that hundreds of students in multiple faculties protested on Sunday in Cairo University in condemnation of the Cabinet’s decision.

Cairo University Chairman Gaber Nassar said that the consequences of the Cabinet’s decision “will add complexity to the scene”, adding that the solution is to train the university’s security personnel and increase their efficiency.

Ain Shams University also witnessed protests organized by Students against the Coup (SAC) Movement in front of Al-Za’farana Palace inside the university campus. Hundreds of students raised a yellow banner that read “Down with Military Rule”

SAC also organised a protest on Sunday in Alexandria University when hundreds demonstrated against the arrest of 22 women in Alexandria on Friday for organising a demonstration in support of former President Mohamed Morsi.

Morsi will be tried on Monday in the Police Academy in the Fifth Settlement while the state of unrest in universities campuses continues.

Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) declared “major concern” regarding the Cabinet’s decision to give police forces the right to enter university campuses.

In a statement issued on Sunday, AFTE declared fears that giving university chairmen the right to call the police forces located at the gates to enter campuses in the cases of “emergency” does not meet with the agreed standards on the circumstances of the usage of this power.

AFTE urged “the Academic Society, especially university chairmen”, to exert efforts to find alternative solutions for the security problems on campuses and to take “serious steps in increasing the efficiency of universities’ security personnel.”

AFTE described the departure of police forces from university campuses as “one of the gains of the 25 January Revolution” that should be preserved.

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