University professors rally in front of Armed Forces HQ

Sherif Tarek , Saturday 16 Apr 2011

Calling for the reshuffling of university boards of directors and deans, university professors have brought their voices direct to Egypt's ruling military council

Cairo University
Cairo University (Reuters)

Hundreds of university professors rallied in front of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) headquarters Saturday, calling for a reshuffle of university boards of directors and deans.

One of the protesters was Laila Swaif, mathematics professor in the Faculty of Science at Cairo University, and a well-known human rights activist.

While standing in front of the ruling military council HQ, Swaif told Ahram Online in a brief interview: “Our primary demand, which we have been long seeking to fulfil, is to the dismantling of the universities’ administrations.

“Normally the president is the one responsible for appointing and sacking university heads, so we went to the military council since it has assumed power.

“We had discussions with the [Higher Education] minister (Amr Ezzat Salama). At the beginning we were told the incumbent university officials would keep their posts till the end of the semester, as their immediate departure might cause turbulence, which is acceptable.

“Later, however, it seemed that there are no tangible efforts to instigate a change, so we decided to congregate in front of the Armed Forces HQ.

“There are also less important demands, such as pay rises and benefits.”

When asked about the number of the protesters, Swaif said: “I would say they are around 300 or 400 now (1pm). There were more of them earlier in the day, but it’s getting hotter here, that’s why people are leaving.

“On the internet there are even more people calling for these changes. The organisers of the rally came up with the idea after conducting an online poll,” Swaif concluded.

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