Student protests ongoing at Al-Azhar, 'surprise' move upcoming

Ahram Online, Saturday 26 Oct 2013

Pro-Morsi student protesters at Al-Azhar University say they are planning a 'surprise' escalation Monday in ongoing action against what they deem a 'military coup' in Egypt

Pro-Morsi students demonstrate at Al-Azhar University's Faculty of Arabic Language on Saturday 26 October 2013. (Photo: Ahram)
Students at Al-Azhar University in Cairo's Nasr City district staged what they called "anti-coup" demonstrations on campus Saturday as tensions rise between them and security forces.
Groups of students have been protesting what they call a "military coup" that toppled Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. They reject the country's interim leadership and call for Morsi's reinstatement.
On Saturday, dozens of students protested at Al-Azhar's Faculty of Arabic Language, chanting slogans like "One word, always remember ... The soldiers will not rule us."
Meanwhile, the university closed down its administration building, where students had been protesting for a week, for "renovations," Al-Ahram Arabic news website reported.   
Pro-Morsi students continue to vow more action. They announced on social media websites that they are planning "a surprise" move on Monday, saying it will be an escalation in their protest.
On 17 October, students' protests at Al-Azhar broke into violence when police intervened to disperse what they said was a non-peaceful demonstration. The interior ministry said in a statement that police only fired teargas at students after they rioted outside the university gates and blocked roads around campus to traffic.
At least seven students were arrested and a policeman was injured, according to security sources.
The university's student union, however, said that 30 students were arrested. 
Al-Azhar University belongs to Al-Azhar Institution, Egypt's highest Sunni-Islam authority. 
Mohamed Morsi was deposed by the armed forces 3 July after mass nationwide protests against his rule. The ouster was part of a roadmap agreed upon by many political forces, including Al-Azhar and the Coptic Church. 
Morsi's supporters, led by the Muslim Brotherhood from which he hails, have been protesting since, calling for his reinstatement.
Tensions have been building between pro-Morsi protesters and the police amid a crackdown by security forces on the Muslim Brotherhood, with hundreds killed or detained since pro-Morsi sit-ins were forcibly dispersed mid-August.
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