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Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Nile University president resigns to protest police crackdown on peaceful sit-in

NU head resigns as Central Security Forces break up the peaceful sit-in at the not-for-profit school where students have been locked into a protracted conflict against the stewardship of Egyptian renowned scientist Ahmed Zewail

Yasmine Wali, Monday 17 Sep 2012
NU:
Central Security forces with arm shields and sticks and their vehicles outside Nile University's sit in. (Photo: Dr.Mahmoud Allam)
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President of Nile University (NU) Tarek Khalil resigns in protest of the violent attack by Egypt's Central Security forces on a peaceful students' sit in on Monday, says NU's spokesman Mohamed Sultan.

On Monday, Central Security Forces raided the ongoing sit-in at Nile University (NU) in 6 October City by students and faculty members, arresting at least two students. 

According to faculty member Mahmoud Allam, Giza court has ordered the sit-in, which has been in place since 28 August, be dispersed.

"They want to evacuate us by force," Nile University engineering student Charle Lutfallah told Ahram Online.

The court ruling to move protesting students off the campus comes following a decision issued on Sunday by the Cabinet committee assigned to solve the crisis, stating that students will use headquarters of Mubarak City University instead, until a permanent solution is reached.  

The land and headquarters which the students are demanding back was given to Zewail City for Science and Technology (ZCST), which is managed prominent Egyptian chemist and Nobel laureate Ahmed Zewail, after the revolution.

Dispute over the land ensued as NU students were left without a campus when former prime minister Ahmed Nazif, who had granted their university its land, was imprisoned facing corruption charges.

In response to the Cabinet decision, NU students blocked the entrance to Zewail City for Science and Technology on Sunday, protesting the decision to move them to Mubarak City University, and continued their sit-in.

Although Higher Education Minister Mustafa Mosaa confirmed on Saturday to Al-Nahar satellite channel that NU will use its old headquarters for a year until they find a permanent solution, Lutfallah explained that the decision has been reversed.

A new court order, Lutfallah explained to Ahram Online, has ruled in favour of evacuating the students from the campus, after General Salah Ebeid Azazy of the Zeweil project filed a legal complaint against the sit-in.

 "They want to evacuate us by force using a legal complaint full of loopholes. The legal complaint [used to evacuate the students] was filed by General Salah Ebeid Azazy, security manager of Zeweil City, and is filed against non-existing persons."

Lutfallah further explained that NU lawyers were still negotiating with the court messenger as the lawyers believe the court decision to evacuate the university had no legal basis.

"It’s a shame that in Egypt police would forcefully evacuate researchers, faculty, students and parents staging a peaceful sit in. They are bringing in hundreds of Central Security Forces carrying sticks and shields," said Lutfallah.

Faculty member Allam told Ahram Online: "They are taking us by force; there are people who are fainting and were taken away by ambulance. We are now meeting with our lawyers. Consultants and the court representatives are negotiating together to reach an agreement. How can a president [Morsi] who is a university professor approve such a decision?"

According to Lutfallah, two students were arrested outside the campus headquarters as they were helping the mother of a student who had fainted in shock at the sight of the police to a nearby ambulance.

"The police took them by force, beat them violently and verbally abused them before placing them in the police van."

"Tarek Khalil [the head of NU] asked us to leave to avoid clashes, but we refused after seeing our colleagues dragged by police," said Lutfallah.

Mostafa Shamaa, one of the students arrested, commented on Monday on social media site Twitter that students received a threat on Sunday night from the minister of education that the sit-in would be dispersed.

Nile University's account on Twitter stated: "We are not against Zewail. We'll help him build his project but not on Nile University's ruins."

Pro-democracy movement 'Kefaya' issued a statement on Monday condemning the attack on the student's sit-in, stressing that the entrance of security forces to the university campus is illegal.

"These are the same tactics of the former regime, and the same policies used to oppress protesters and strikes everywhere," read the statement.

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