Protocol to be signed with interior ministry to secure Egypt's universities

Ahram Online , Wednesday 30 Oct 2013

Police forces will be allowed to secure university premises in Egypt following a spate of intense clashes between student supporters and opponents of ousted president Mohamed Morsi

Protesters gather amidst remnants of teargas smoke during clashes with riot police at Al-Azhar University in Cairo October 20, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)

Hassan Eisa, head of Ain Shams University, announced Wednesday that a protocol is expected to be signed Thursday between the Ministry of Interior and the Supreme Council of Universities (SCU) to tighten campus security nationwide.

According to Eissa, the SCU has authorised the secretary general of the council and the minister of higher education to sign the security protocol between the interior ministry, universities and the SCU.

The protocol is expected to resemble the one existing on university hospitals, which allows security forces to secure such premises, said Eissa in a press statement Wednesday.

It remains unknown whether security forces will be deployed on campuses or not.

Since the begining of the academic year in Egypt, universities have been witnessing fierce clashes between supporters and opponents of deposed president Mohamed Morsi. As a result, tens of Islamist students have been arrested. 

On Wednesday, security forces were allowed into Al-Azhar University campus upon the request of the university's president, after clashes escalated in the second week of protests at the university.

According to the lawyer representing those arrested, only eight of the arrested are Azhar students.

In October 2010, Egypt's Supreme Administrative Court upheld a ruling to remove police from university campuses, notorious for their heavy-handed tactics against students and their targeting of politically active members of the student body. Administrative security guards were hired instead.

Earlier in September, a proposal issued by the SCU to grant university security guards powers of arrest stirred controversy, sparking fears of a return to intimidating politically active students.

The interim cabinet sidestepped the proposal.

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