Clashes between Central Security Forces (CSF) and students erupted in Nahda Square at midday on Tuesday.
The clashes began when marches comprised of hundreds of students organised by Students Against the Coup and the student arm of the Ahrar movement reached CSF barricades and military armoured personnel carriers near the entrance of Giza Zoo.
Interior ministry spokesman General Hany Abdel Latif said: “The protests will be handled according to the law.”
Security forces used teargas and rubber bullets against the protesting students as clashes continued outside Cairo University’s main gate, where students were chanting against the interior ministry and Defence Minister General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.
One of the protesting students, who witnessed the beginning of the clashes, said: “Security forces did not use water cannons in the beginning, in violation of the Protest Law which they are supposedly abiding by.”
Students used the university campus as their refuge from teargas, but CSF shot several canisters inside the premises. One ambulance entered the university to aid the injured. “Most of the cases that have come to us were students suffering from asphyxiation,” said one of the paramedics. “We aided them by putting them on oxygen until they were better.”
Several students were holding Rabaa signs, wearing yellow ski masks with Rabaa signs on them, singing Muslim Brotherhood anthems and chanting: “I am a Muslim, I will not surrender.”
Outside the university, students sprayed soda drinks and yeast on their faces to withstand the immense amount of teargas. Several birdshot injuries were sustained by those on the front lines, which had been marked by barricades which the students brought from the university.
Meanwhile, in the Faculty of Engineering at Cairo University (FECU), faculty dean Dr Sherif Mourad personally inspected the situation while administrative security asked the students to leave the faculty from the side door, located away from the clashes. FECU said on its website that classes have been suspended until further notice.
One of the students participating in the sit-in said: “We will leave our tents but will not spend the night here, we don’t know what can happen at night.”
The protest which the Student Against the Coup called for was among a series of demonstrations which they called “the week of steadfastness”. They called for the Tuesday protest to demonstrate against “the massacre” which occurred at Al-Azhar University. The student arm of the “Ahrar” (free) movement had called for the protest to honour “all the martyrs and detainees”, regardless of their political affiliation, titling the demonstration “For them we continue”.
On Tuesday Students Against the Coup in Al-Azhar University continued protesting after Monday clashes, when CSF had stormed the campus and arrested at least 48 students. The university administration said in a statement that midyear exams would take place as scheduled, regardless of recent events.