Egyptian police arrest more Al-Azhar students, re-station on campus

Ahram Online, Monday 13 Oct 2014

After students' demonstrations on Sunday, police move onto campus on Monday to backup newly hired Falcon security personnel and arrest number of students

Personnel from Falcon, a private security company, conduct searches as students arrive for a new academic year at the main gate of Al-Azhar University during a protest conducted by a pro-Muslim Brotherhood student movement known as the Students Against the Coup, in Nasr City district October 12, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)

Police forces raided the homes of a number of Al-Azhar University students on Monday and arrested them, while other forces returned to the tension-hit campus following Sunday's turmoil.

University's head of student union Mohamed Atef said security forces raided his house, arresting his brother – also an Azhar student – when they could not find him.

Seventy-eight students  were previously arrested from their homes nationwide early Sunday and Saturday, according to various reports.

Meanwhile, Deputy Head of Al-Azhar University Tawfik Nour El-Din told Ahram Online that police entered the university campus Monday after only being present outside the university's premises on Saturday and Sunday.

However, Nour El-Din stressed the police are only stationed near the gates from the inside and not deep inside campus as it did last year.

On Sunday student protests against the personnel of the private security firm, Falcon, which was hired by the administration to guard the gates of the school, had resulted in the destruction of some of the electronic security gates.

On Monday, the private security company personnel continued to man the gates, but now under police protection.

In at least six of the12 public university campuses where Falcon was hired to man entrance, students expressed anger for waiting in long queues as their Identification cards and belongings were inspected. Some students also protested the arrest and detention of colleagues.

At a Sunday press conference, higher education minister El-Sayed Abdel-Khalek said all students who protested at universities had been filmed on CCTV, and would be expelled.

Private security company, Falcon, was hired to guard university campuses after frequent clashes between police and students during the previous academic year.

Islamist students last year regularly protested to condemn the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013. Hundreds of students were arrested during on-campus demonstrations that often descended in violent clashes with police.

At least 14 students killed during protests at various universities in the last academic year.

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