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High security measures mark start of Egyptian university year

Egyptian public universities opened Saturday with increased security and long queues, with student IDs and belongings inspected

Ahram Online, Saturday 11 Oct 2014
Cairo University
Cairo University students queuing to get their IDs and belongings inspected before entering campus (Photo: Al-Ahram)
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Egyptian public universities opened Saturday for the new semester with increased security measures, Al-Ahram Arabic website reported.

The start of the new academic year witnessed long queues, as new security rules obliged students to present their IDs before entrance to campus, as well as having their bags inspected by security while passing through security gates.   

Public universities were a site for frequent clashes last year between police and students, with at least 14 students killed in the violence and hundreds jailed for illegal protesting or participating in violence. Hundreds of students were also either expelled or suspended from universities nationwide.

The security personnel checking the students' IDs and belongings this year are not police, but employees of a private security company hired by the Ministry of Higher Education.

Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab had stated that this year no police would be stationed inside universities. Police were known to storm campuses on a number of occasions to quell protests.

The National Alliance to Support Legitimacy (NASL), that deems former president Mohamed Morsi's ouster a "coup," announced a new round of protests — dubbed "Students are the Knights of the Revolution."

"The university campus is a field of the flaming revolutionary fields. Students are the knights of your revolution ... Let us launch a strong and intense revolutionary movement starting Friday to protect the gains of the students' struggle over the past year," NASL said in a statement.

Street protests held by Morsi supporters have dwindled over the past year. University campuses were used as an alternative venue to street protests over the past academic year.

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