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Student activists angry after cabinet decision allows police on campus

Egyptian university activists speak out against Wednesday decision sanctioning police intervention on campuses; vow to defy it

Osman El Sharnoubi, Thursday 21 Nov 2013
Egypt
Riot police form a line after Al-Azhar University students, members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, blocked off Al Nasr street in front of Al-Azhar University headquarters at Cairo's Nasr City district, Tuesday, (Photo: Reuters).
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Egyptian university student activists are outraged following a cabinet decision to allow police onto campuses without the prior authorisation of university administrators or Egypt's prosecution.

In light of recent unrest facing universities nationwide, Egypt's cabinet decided on Thursday to allow police forces on campus as part of a number of "anti-terrorism" measures.

The decision comes one day after clashes between students and police at Cairo's Al-Azhar University left student Abdel Ghani Hammouda dead due to a shotgun wound.

"No way we'll allow them to have free reign on campus," Omar Saher, a Cairo University student and member of student activist group Muqawma ('Resistance'), told Ahram Online.

"I want to see them try, they'll enter over our dead bodies," Saher added. 

Saher, who is also a member of the 'Way of the Revolution Front' opposing both the military and the Muslim Brotherhood, rejected the government's justification for the decree, saying that there is nothing that would allow police intervention in student life.

In October, Al-Azhar students protested for the release of fellow students arrested during an off-campus demonstration against the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. The protesters had accused Egypt's military of orchestrating a 'coup' against the elected president.

In the process, students trashed Al-Azhar's headquarters, resulting in several arrests. Twelve students were sentenced to 17 years in prison for storming the building.

"Those protests were a result of the coup," Saher said. "Students don't wake up in the morning and decide to protest, protesting isn't an end in itself, they protest because of the authorities' actions," he added.

"There is absolutely no excuse; the university is a red line," said Halim Heneish, member of the activist group Youth for Justice and Freedom and a postgraduate student at Cairo University.

"The Mubarak regime is still ruling, this decree shows the continuing attempts at political repression."

Heneish, another Way of the Revolution Front member, does not support pro-Morsi students but says such measures against students must be resisted.

Heneish and Saher both said they will take part in protests against the decree.

"Security on campus should be left to the campus security staff," Heneish stated.

Haitham Gamal, a student at Cairo's Ain Shams University, affirmed that campus security was sufficiently equipped to prevent clashes against students, asserting that they were capable of maintaining order on campus.

However, Gamal told Ahram Online that campus security deliberately allowed pro-Morsi and pro-military students to clash at Ain Shams University on Tuesday, even joining ranks with the latter to beat pro-Morsi students.

For Gamal, allowing a police return to campus would be a step back to the days of longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak. During Mubarak's rule, security was able to ban all non-educational activities in universities. They also had the power to decide which students could become teaching assistants after graduation based on their political orientation.

"There is no justification for this decree whatsoever," Gamal deplored.

In October, students across Egyptian universities protested against a proposed cabinet bill granting university guards the right to arrest. The decree was subsequently shelved.

Liberal-leaning higher education minister Hossam Eissa has previously declared a staunch stance against the banning of political activity in universities.

Since Morsi's ouster, students in support of the former president have staged a number of university protests demanding his reinstatement.

Before Thursday's decree, security forces were stationed outside of campuses, limited only to preventing demonstrations from exiting campus grounds.

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4



Khalid
22-11-2013 11:25am
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3+
Funny Comments
How the dictators and tyrants justiy their sins and oppressive crime against the citizens and human beings below comment are the examples.We know where these comments are comming from,no matter the hide themselve or come from any name.Egyptians do know the tyrants and their agents.They don't feel any shame for their sins against the Egyptians and against the humanity.If protesting agasint the tyrant,chanting against the dictators and fightting for the democratic right is terrorism then all revolutionaries are terrorist.This language is not new.All dictators including Mubarak and others have been using same language and justifying the crimes.No dictator can tolerate any kind of critics,protest,opposition or any democratic right,but they always forget the history of the dictators and their end result.From Student,sportsment,to ordinary men,women and childern all are under attack of the Tyrant regime but their days have been numbered.
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Bubbly
22-11-2013 09:58pm
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0+
hypocrites
Mr Ervin,why you are trying to say that all Egyptians are idiots like you..? How many liberal/seculars and copt were arrested,killed and tortured by Army or Police during Morsy tenure..? Did ever Morsy shut down the Tahrir Square..? Dispers any of your protests and rallies..? Despite the fact that whole one year you people were vandlising the and attacking the MB office, presidential palace and killed many MB supporters...you are now comparing the Killer and coup leader with elected president.
Ervin
22-11-2013 01:43pm
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27+
hypocrites
Look who is talking...! My dear, weren't you the ones to give this biggest example, that dictators don't accept critics? Did you forget Morsi and the Ikhwan who did not accept critics in any case, because they couldn't do mistakes, as being the ones chosen by God? You started this trend and now you whine against it, forgetting everything you did before and the examples you gave... You are just pathetic and hypocrites.
very very critical
22-11-2013 12:43pm
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19+
Robot!
You are not a student. You are a mental robot. You sold your spirit to the devil. And you sold your mind to evil masters. May god help you finding the right path!
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Tammy
22-11-2013 03:59am
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30+
and they act surprised!! amazing!!
Well its like this....IF YOU WOULD BEHAVE LIKE STUDENTS and NOT TERRORISTS IN TRAINING.....the POLICE WOULD NOT NEED TO BE THERE!!! You need to grow up and learn that there are consequences for every action....if you are not ready to deal with the consequences THEN DO NOT DO THE ACTION TO CAUSE THEM...Its called being a responsible human being..maybe eventually you so called STUDENTS will learn that lesson...but then again maybe not, the mb still has not learned to accept responsibility for their actions but yet they whine about the consequences..sounds very similiar, imagine that.
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2



very very critical
22-11-2013 12:09am
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25+
Angry????
They have no right to be angry. They lost all rights to be students! Hit them hard!
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Corinna
22-11-2013 02:48pm
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so people now need authorities permission to be allowed certain feelings???!!!
What is the next step: By thinking critical thoughts of the government or any authority one looses the right of being human?! How do you think societies develop/evolve? Students who are likely to become futur decision makers: administrators, managers, judges to name a few positions should learn about societies values such as rule of law, and the one or other civil/human right by concentrating on completing their degree and not holding any political view of their own without ever voicing an opinion - even or especially a dissenting one? What do you want your future society be compriesed off spit- (or probably: boot-) lickers without any backbone? A free society which respects the dignity of the individual and certain human rights must live with a certain amount of dissent, opinions with are not well-received by everybody. This is not very practical - the alternative is supporting an authoritarian regime which tells people what the "correct" opinion is. Very easy and sanitary of a sort .
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Allen
21-11-2013 11:14pm
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Angry for what?
You will be restrained from terrorising other student? You will be restrained from vandlizing the school? You will be restrained from performing acts of violence as you please? No anger when your fellow MB's are murdering the police? AND you wonder why they are out there to defend the Egyptian public at large???
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Moffet
23-12-2013 03:02am
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I like looking through an article that will make men and women think. Also, thank you for allowing me to comment!
I like looking through an article that will make men and women think. Also, thank you for allowing me to comment!
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