At Cairo University, students block staff from entering buildings

Ahram Online, Monday 29 Apr 2013

Students are holding sit-in at dormitories complaining of poor services and demanding new regulations

Egypt's cairo university students (Photo: Mai Shaheen)

Cairo University students who live in the university’s dormitories banned staff from entering the dormitory's administrative buildings on Monday morning for the second day, according to Al-Ahram’s Arabic language website.

The students closed both the dormitory's administrative buildings with a sit-in, saying that they will not disperse until new student bylaws are decided.

They stated that their demands include achieving better student services and having an ambulance ready on campus in case of emergencies.

Mohamed Badran, the head of the Egyptian Student Union, is visiting the student dormitories of Al-Azhar and Cairo Universities to check on the situation.

On Sunday, hundreds of students protested the state of education in Egypt during nationwide demonstrations called for by several opposition groups. 

Dozens of students marched from Cairo University to Cabinet headquarters in downtown Cairo chanting: "Dignity, freedom and free, quality education."

Groups that endorsed the protest included the Socialist Popular Alliance, the Revolutionary Socialists, the Strong Egypt Party and the Egyptian Popular Current.

According to Mahmoud Nawar, Revolutionary Socialist member and Helwan University student, students demand the release of colleagues detained by authorities and the provision of free education by the state.

A number of students were recently arrested at their homes on charges of thuggery and on suspicion that they belonged to the so-called 'Black Bloc.'

The Black Bloc is a term used to describe masked men wearing black, who occasionally appear at protests and are frequently accused of violence.

Protesting students also demand punishment of those responsible for attacking students on campus in several universities, and the dismissal of Egypt's higher education minister.

Recent weeks have seen several incidents in which students were attacked on campus.

Last week, “thugs” reportedly attacked Ain Shams University students marching from Cairo's Nour Mosque to demand tighter campus security and an end to “thuggery.” This followed several earlier similar attacks by unknown assailants.

On Friday, dozens of Cairo University students blocked off Tharwat Street in Giza in protest at the university’s poor services, Al-Ahram’s Arabic language website reported.

The students demanded that university authorities urgently investigate the state of the university’s facilities, and requested the implementation of student union bylaws.

The protesters complained about repeated power cuts and poor food. Students said that in one case that rotten meat was served at the cafeteria in the girls’ dormitory.

On 13 April, 41 student movements from public and private Egyptian universities protested against the ministry of higher education after several crises at universities across the country.

Hundreds of students marched from Cairo University to the ministry, calling for the sacking of Minister of Higher Education, Mostafa Mosaad, and the head of the Supreme Council of Private Universities, Gamal Nawara.

Students demanded better security on university campuses, as well as better-quality health and nutrition services for students who live on campus.

Protesters cited the recent food poisoning incident in Al-Azhar University, where about 500 students were hospitalised after eating on campus.

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