Students at Fayoum University are entering the fifth day of boycotting classes in protest at the imprisonment of fellow students.
The boycott follows violence that erupted when security forces stormed the campus last Monday to clear a protest.
On Tuesday, it was reported that a Fayoum court jailed 21 for violent activities, including: a teacher from the Faculty of Agriculture; 13 students from the Faculty of Engineering; and seven from the university’s Faculty of Science.
The original protests, organised by the opposition movement Students Against the Coup (SAC), were dispersed last Monday, resulting in the detention of 50 students, with the remaining 29 students since released.
A SAC statement reported that during the security forces’ clearance of the protest, live ammunition, bird shot and tear gas were used. This resulted in tens of injuries, including causing the blindness in one eye of a student. SAC maintains that the security forces were called on request of the university administration.
The student strike has called for the release of the remaining detained individuals and for the suspended students to return to university. However, Fayoum University’s media advisor confirmed the continuation of the academic semester at the University, and denied any suspension of academic activities, according to state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram.
It is understood the university has formed a legal committee to cover the imprisoned students’ case, the media adviser said, adding that they support the release of all detained students not involved in violent activities.
Protests in several campuses across Egypt, including at Fayoum, Cairo, Al-Azhar, Alexandria and Helwan Universities were called for by SAC throughout the week, in support of the imprisoned students.
The Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) issued a periodical report last Sunday on violations against university students in Egypt. The report highlighted a decrease in violations against students and in student activities during the academic year’s second semester.
The report, focusing on the first month of the second semester, cited cases of storming student houses from Ain Shams, Al-Azhar, Fayoum and Port Said Universities by police. These were in addition to mass arrests from different universities across the country.