Security forces in new clashes with Al-Azhar University students

Ahram Online, Tuesday 10 Dec 2013

Students at Al-Azhar University go on strike after security forces raid campus to break up protest only for police forces to crack down on them in few hours

Protesters shout slogans against the military and interior ministry, while gesturing with four fingers in front of riot police after blocking Al Nasr street in front of Al-Azhar University headquarters at Cairo's Nasr City district, November 19, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)

Clashes re-erupted Tuesday between Egypt's security forces and Al-Azhar University students outside the campus, as the student union began the first day of a strike in protest over security forces entering the campus the previous day.

Hours into the strike, security forces fired teargas at students outside the campus and in the nearby university dormitory in the eastern Cairo neighbourhood of Nasr City, part of a recent attempt to suppress student demonstrations in support of ousted president Mohamed Morsi.

The police remained stationed outside the campus gates before violence broke out.

Meanwhile, Al-Azhar University denied two students had been killed during Monday's clashes. It said five were injured, four of whom are already out of the hospital and the fifth is in stable condition.
Security forces entered the campus on Monday and dispersed a student demonstration with teargas. Over fifty students were arrested.

The interior ministry said security forces were asked to intervene by university president Osama El-Abd.

The university's student union announced the strike on Tuesday. The university administration said classes were not suspended and midterm examinations would start as scheduled on 28 December.

The campus gates were briefly closed on Tuesday, university security official Mahmoud Sobhy said.

Security forces will only enter the campus if requested again by the university president, he added.

From the start of the academic year in September, pro-Morsi student protests have taken place at a number of campuses across Egypt.

Al-Azhar University has witnessed violent clashes between security forces and students in recent weeks.

In November, the interim government issued a law allowing security forces to enter campuses without permission from university presidents or prosecutors.

Islamist president Mohamed Morsi was deposed by the military amid mass protests on 3 July. 

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