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Fresh clashes on Upper Egypt campus over Morsi trial

Violence erupts between pro-Morsi students and police at Assiut University in Upper Egypt on first day of deposed president's trial

Ahram Online , Monday 4 Nov 2013
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Clashes broke out on Monday between supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi and police at Upper Egypt's Assiut University, on the first day of the ousted Islamist leader's trial.

The clashes were triggered when students tried to block off a major road in the city.

They chanted "Down with military rule." 

Students hurled stones at security forces stationed outside the university gates, Al-Ahram Arabic news website reported.

Police responded by firing tear gas over the university walls to disperse the crowds. Several students reportedly suffered suffocation.

Morsi was ousted by the army on 3 July after massive demonstrations against his troubled one-year rule. His backers have decried the move as a coup, but the army says it was responding to the will of the people.

Morsi appeared in court on Monday morning on charges of inciting violence. The trial was adjourned to 8 January, and the ousted president, who has been detained at a secret location since his removal, was transferred to a prison in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria.

Hundreds of Morsi backers protested in Cairo and elsewhere against what they perceive as the "farcical" trial of the country's first freely elected president.

His Muslim Brotherhood movement has suffered the toughest crackdown in its history, causing their street presence to sharply diminish.

Islamists have instead turned their sights on other sensitive sites, including campuses. Protests have spread to universities nationwide, including Al-Azhar, the ancient seat of Sunni Muslim learning, with clashes often reported between rival students. Authorities say dozens of students have been arrested since the beginning of the academic year in September.

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