Al-Azhar University SU vows more protests after Sunday violence

Ahram Online, Sunday 20 Oct 2013

Student Union says upcoming demos will call for release of those detained during Sunday 'anti-coup' protests

Al-Azhar University's student union says students will hold additional protests following the Cairo demonstrations that ended in violence on Sunday.

In a statement issued after the chaos that erupted on the first day after the Eid holiday, the student union said they will mobilise to call for the release of those arrested during Sunday's protest.

Several hundred students protested on Sunday at Al-Azhar University's two Cairo campuses against what they call a military 'coup' that toppled Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. At least seven students were arrested and a policeman was injured, according to security sources.

The student union's statement, however, says that 30 students were arrested. 

According to the statement, the union may resort to "peaceful" escalation to pressure for the detained students' release.

During the protests, students shouted anti-police slogans, threw stones at security forces stationed outside the university gates, and set fire to a nearby rubbish bin, leading security forces to respond with tear gas, according to a statement on the interior ministry's Facebook page.

Al-Azhar University Deputy President Ibrahim Hudhud also accused the protesters of violence. The student union statement criticised Hudhud for his "false" accusation.

"Studies will continue, even if the demonstrations persist," Hudhud announced via televised comments Sunday. "A small faction will not act against the interests of more than 400,000 students," he added.

The prestigious Al-Azhar University belongs to Al-Azhar Institution, the highest authority of Sunni Islam.

Since Morsi's removal in July, security forces have severely cracked down on the former president's now-banned Muslim Brotherhood. Morsi and senior Brotherhood leaders have been detained on various allegations, including inciting violence.

The political schism between opposing students has also led to recurrent clashes, causing numerous injuries and several arrests since the start of the new academic year in late September.

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