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Egypt students boycott 'undemocratic' union elections

Students from a number of Egyptian universities boycott union elections held under charter that inhibits political activity on campus

Ahram Online , Sunday 18 Mar 2012
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Student Union elections saw a low turnout on Sunday as students from a number of universities, including Cairo and Ain Shams, called for a boycott and protested for a new charter to regulate student activity on campus.

The current charter, established in 1979, has been used by past regimes to restrict political activism and freedom of expression.

At Cairo University, students began a sit-in in the main garden facing the administration building to highlight their demands.

The Ministry of Higher Education decided last week to hold the elections without consulting with the student body, leaving no time to draft a new charter.

On Friday and Saturday, student held protests at the Journalists Syndicate and the Ministry of Higher Education against the decision to carry out elections under the old charter. Protesters also called for more political freedom at universities and showed solidarity with two students expelled from the German University in Cairo for their political activism.    

Student activism has seen a revival since the January 25 Revolution.

On 11 February 2012, students were the major force, along with workers, in calling for a civil disobedience campaign to demand the ruling military council hand over power to an elected civilian government.

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