Egypt's interim President Adly Mansour amended a law on Tuesday to allow university heads to expel protesting students, a measure that will further clamp down on the Islamist students who have staged demonstrations at university campuses across the country since the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi.
According to Mansour's amendment, students will be expelled for endangering the educational process or targeting a university's facilities, work or exams.
The amendment also includes attacks on people, public or private property inside the campus and inciting or participating in violence.
The law previously stated that a student would be referred to a disciplinary board, which would allocate punishment according to the nature of the offense.
On the same day as Mansour's announcement, six students from Al-Azhar University were expelled and 23 others were partially dismissed for one to two years, according to Faisal El-Sayed, a lawyer representing Al-Azhar students.
The new law states that expelled students can appeal the decision to the university's disciplinary board.
Al-Azhar University, the oldest Islamic university in the world, was the scene of frequent clashes last year between security forces and pro-Morsi students.
Other universities across the country were also at the forefront of Islamist groups' defiance against the interim authorities, staging near-daily protests since the start of the academic year in September. Clashes intensified after reports of students being detained or allegedly killed by security forces. In an effort to squash the student-led uprising, interim authorities in November granted police the right to enter campuses without prior authorisation from university heads or the prosecution.
The National Alliance to Support Legitimacy (NASL), a pro-Morsi coalition including the Muslim Brotherhood, has remained defiant of attempts to stifle student unrest, however.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the NASL called on students to "develop their protests" at the start of the upcoming second semester to create the "desired atmosphere of decisiveness."
"You are now in a new confrontation with those who stole your revolution, you are the forefront of the revolution and leaders of this time," the NASL statement said.