Students from various movements formed on Saturday Egypt’s Student Coalition (ESC) in support of academic and political freedom, demanding the release of arrested students.
The coalition issued a document highlighting its main objectives, with a focus on “defending student rights in order to have a free and independent university”.
The coalition’s agenda constitutes a series of nine major points, starting with its desire of “release of all detained students, revocation all oppressive laws that limit students’ freedom, the return of all banned student organisations, and stopping all attempts to spread spies among faculty members and students”.
The participating groups also condemned the security measures in and around campuses, which have led to the arrests of over 150 students in the first week of the academic year.
“We demand the reduction of the security measures, the cancellation of all contracts with private security companies, the amendment of the student regulation laws, and the inclusion students in the decision making process,” said in the document.
ESC also called on the government to allocate more money to support student activities, and provide campuses with more practical facilities, libraries, and laboratories, rather than spending it on security.
The signatories to the statement included students from the Revolutionary Socialist Movements, Al-Dostour party, Misr Al-Qawia party, Moqawma (Resistance) group, Egyptian Democratic Party, Popular Current party, Misr Al-Horyia party, and 6 April movement.
Since the start of the academic year on 11 October at least 163 students have been arrested, according to Democracy Index.
Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression have demanded the Egyptian authorities release arrested university students.
Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim announced last week that riot police will be stationed inside Al-Azhar University’s campus. Meanwhile, police will secure the Cairo University gates from outside, in cooperation with the private security company.
This step by the Ministry of Interior took place as students clashed with personnel from the private security company Falcon.