Egypt students threaten to strike demanding SCAF step down

Ahram Online, Saturday 4 Feb 2012

Several universities threaten to strike, demanding a swift handover of power to a civilian government and prosecution of those responsible for killings of football fans and other revolutionaries

Cairo University
Protests in Cairo University against presence of Secret police on campus, 2009 (Photo:AP)

Students of the populous Cairo University and, separately, the smaller German University in Cairo (GUC) declare they will protest and desist classes starting 11 February, on the one-year anniversary that president Hosni Mubarak was forced to step down.

The strikes demand the ruling military council (SCAF) transfer power to a civilian authority as well as prosecution of those responsible for the attacks at a football match that left 74 dead and caught the world's attention.

Dozens of football fans, mostly supporters of Ahly Ultras, were killed on Wednesday night after rival Masry fans stormed the pitch at the end of an Egyptian league game between Cairo's Ahly and Port Said's Masry in a game that witnessed tensions from the starting minute and lacklustre security presence according to many eyewitnesses.

Many students blame the security forces for allowing mobs to rush the field, who attacked fans in the bleachers with objects, threw fans over the edge of the stadium, set fires and caused stampedes.

Cairo University faculties who said they would participate include: Commerce, Engineering, Mass Communication, Law, Medicine, Pharmaceutical and Political Science.

Students from the Cairo University Political Science and Economics faculties released a statement of mourning.

In the statement the students demanded that those responsible for the Port Said stadium killings and the killing of protesters near the Ministry of Interior and cabinet building in the past months be put on trial immediately. They also demanded that the government apparatus(es)  – whom revolutionary forces blame for the atrocities – be restructured and cleared of former regime loyalists.

The students, who have played a leading role in the one-year-old Egyptian, also demand a clear timeline for the transfer of power from the SCAF to a civilian government. Furthermore, the students insist on quick presidential elections.

The parliament has been too passive, the students complain, demanding, a strong reaction to the recent violence.

Meanwhile, students of the American University in Cairo and Modern Science and Arts University also released a statement condemning the latest Port Said killings, holding the police responsible and demanding an end to military rule.

According to the Egyptian ministry of health, the death toll in clashes that broke out on Thursday between thousands of protesters in a number of Egyptian cities, angry over the Port Said massacre on Wednesday, and police forces has risen to 12 by midday Saturday.

Thousands of protesters are blaming the police for the deaths of fans, and many have been also demanding the SCAF step down.

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