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Akhbar Al-Youm Academy students protest on Press Street

Zeinab El Gundy, Wednesday 19 Oct 2011
Magy Rabie (Photo: Zainab Mohamed )
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Dozens of students from the Akhbar Al-Youm Academy protested today outside the Akhbar Al-Youm headquarters, which owns the academy, following the suspension of 10 students who had demanded the dismissal of Ahmed Zaki Badr as head of their university.

While some protesters chanted, "Ahmed Zaki Badr, the butcher's son" – a reference to the father of the official in question, the controversial minister of the interior Zaki Badr – and, "Badr, out of Akhbar Al-Youm", others helped to direct traffic along Press Street, where the building is located in downtown Cairo.

A total of 60 students have been staging a sit-in at the Akhbar Al-Youm Academy for over week now demanding the dismissal of Ahmed Zaki Badr, whom they see as an icon of the former Mubarak regime. Ahmed Zaki Badr has held the position of minister of education; he was a member of the NDP when the 25 Jan revolution broke out. The issue escalated last Sunday when students on strike lay siege to Badr's office for nearly 6 hours in an attempt to force him to resign.

With the help of some students along with the police and the military police, Badr managed to flee the academy. Later he filed a complaint against 10 students, accusing them of attacking him physically; the next day studies at the academy were suspended for two weeks while the students Badr had complained about were suspended for two years.

Magy Rab'i, one of those suspended, told Ahram Online that Badr was the one who physically attacked the students; protesters had actually protected him against their fellows’ angry response: “The next day Badr had a meeting with the administration of the Akhbar Al Youm institution, then we found out that 10 students including me were suspended for two years.”

Magy Rab'i also told Ahram Online the students were in the process of filing a lawsuit against the administration, who took the decision before an investigation had been undertaken and failed to notify the students that they were subject to being suspended. Four students were negotiating with the administration as she spoke.

During TV appearances, for his part, Ahmed Zaki Badr said the students were rude and accused them of having been paid to attack him. Badr blamed "Facebook and technology" for turning students against their professors, adding that he took pity on the 10 offenders, suspending them for two years when he could have expelled them.  

The sit-in against Badr is the latest in a string of protests in public as well as private universities across Egypt.

 

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