Angry Lycee's students protest against CSF's use of school

Zeinab El Gundy , Thursday 22 Nov 2012

The Lycee El-Horreya students protest against Central Security Forces use of their school in recent Mohamed Mahmoud street clashes

Angry Lycee

Dozens of angry Lycee El-Horreya "Bab El Louk" graduates, students and their parents protested outside of the school and in Tahrir Square on Thursday against Central Security Forces (CSF) using their school as a base to attack the protesters in Downtown Cairo Mohamed Mahmoud Street.

For fourth days in a row Central Security Forces used the school’s buildings to attack the protesters in both Youssef El Gendy Street and Mohamed Mahmoud Street, severely damaging the school.

Several parts of the school were torched due to the Molotov cocktails thrown. The school overlooks Mohamed Mahmoud Street and was torched in the clashes between Central Security Forces and protesters.

Soldiers threw its furniture at protesters, as shown in a video footage filmed in the past 72 hours. 

On Thursday, the students of Lycee, their parents, and the graduates answered a Facebook event to protest in Tahrir Square against the CSF use of the school.

Holding banners with slogans like “save my school” and “my school designed by Hassan Fathi is being torched down,” the protesters demanded that the CSF leave the school. 

“We came here to ask the Minister of Education and the Minister of Interior what is happening to the school. We ask them to think about our children,” Mrs. Nada, a student’s parent and graduate in her 30s told Ahram Online.

“Who will pay for these damages? Where is the Minister of Education to stop the destruction of such an important and old educational establishment?”

She added angrily while holding a banner that said, “My child’s school is not safe.”

Another angry parent and graduate of Lycee, Mr. Amr, who is in his 40s, spoke angrily on how the whole KG section in the school was completely torched.

“Already if any torched room is painted, the harmful smells will be dangerous to the students. Can you think what will happen to little children in the KG,” he stated.

“There are not less than one thousand students in this school,” Amr added.

According to the parents, the only notification they received from the school administration was that the school would be closed until next Sunday.

Dona, a student in the 1st secondary class, told Ahram Online that she was having her midterms when the clashes started and the school was forced to close.

“I do not know what happened to my class, but I know many classes have been damaged and there is a mess inside the school,” Dona told Ahram Online.

After knowing and seeing the pictures and footage of the school being torched and its furniture thrown on protesters, the students of Lycee El-Horreya issued a statement on Facebook on Wednesday to demand the resignation of the school's headmistress.

“We should get rid of the school’s administration that agreed on the entry of the Central Security Forces and police to the school. This caused all the classes to be destroyed and torched,” said the angry students in their statement. They wondered who will pay the expenses to fix the school.

"Why do we have to pay for the school’s administration wrong doings!” The students added that the decision to let the CSF use the school was a disgrace to its school history.

The angry students insist for the headmistress to resign because of the school damages and her wrong decision.

Another demand is an official apology from the school’s administration to the students.

“Last year we had another headmistress, Mrs. Niahl, who refused to let the Central Security Forces use the school’s building during the clashes of Mohamed Mahmoud Street," Dona, the student told Ahram Online.

“If Mrs. Naglaa is forced to let the police use the school, why does she not protest with us?” Mrs. Nada, the student’s parent told Ahram Online. Other parents in the protest also wondered why no one is coming near the American University in Cairo's downtown campus.

According to the parents that spoke to Ahram Online, no one from the Ministry of Education has commented officially on the school's situation.  

During the stand, a group of students told their friends that they managed to speak to the commander of the CSF unit inside Lycee school. The students managed to sneak into the school through the Ministry of Interior direction. 

“The captain told us he and his men will leave if they receive orders to do so. Other than that, he said he is protecting the school from protesters. If protesters enter they will destroy the school,” the students told the angry parents, who did not believe what that captain said.

"Let the CSF leave the school and we will protect the school from protesters and security by ourselves,” one angry parent said.

Some pro-revolutionary activists came and supported the protest. The angry students and graduates like former presidential candidate and TV host, Bothiana Kamel, and activist Alaa Abdel Fatah.

In addition, the students and parents wanted more media coverage in order for their voice to be heard.

Lycee El-Horreya or also known in Cairo as Lycee "Bab El Louk" was inaugurated in Egypt in 1930. Some of its buildings were designed by the famous Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy. As a French school, Lycee El-Horreya was nationalized in the 1960s as a part of Egypt's national educational institutions.

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