Police disperse student protesters at Zagazig University with teargas

Reem Gehad , Saturday 16 Nov 2013

Zagazig University students in the Nile Delta call for the release of their 23 detained peers following clashes on the university campus last week

Police fire tear gas at student protest at Zagazig University (Photo: courtesy of Nabd el Gamea Facebook page)

Central Security Forces (CSF) stormed the campus of Zagazig University upon the request of the university president and fired teargas at demonstrating students on Saturday morning.

Ahram Arabic news website reported tens of students suffered from gas inhalation.

Hundreds of students at the Faculty of Engineering of Zagazig University in the Nile Delta had blocked the gates of the faculty  to demand the release of 23 of their colleagues who were arrested following on-campus clashes last week.

The detained students, including at least 5 leftists and 18 Muslim Brotherhood supporters, face charges of sabotage.

Student groups at the Faculty of Engineering had launched a campus-wide strike on Saturday morning, calling on their peers not to attend mid-term exams until the detained students are released.

Ali Yousri, a student at the faculty and a member of the Revolutionary Socialists, told Ahram Online that the police fired teargas cannisters on protesters then proceeded to hit with batons.

"The strike calls were endorsed by the faculty's student union and heeded by many students of all political shades," Ali added.

A security source told Ahram Arabic website that police arrested 13 protester.

The protesters demand the release of all detainees, administrative accountability for "thuggery in complicity with university security," and the establishment of a civilian security company on campus. 

Among the detainees is socialist activist and member of the faculty's student union Mohamed Abd El-Shakour, also known as Shiko.

His friend and a university colleague Mohamoud El-Maghawry told Ahram Online that Abd El-Shakour is facing accusations of belonging to a "banned group [The Muslim Brotherhood]." The prosecution ordered his dentition for 15 days on Friday.

"Shiko does not participate in Brotherhood demonstrations 'against the coup' and he was arrested from his home, " El-Maghawry added.

"He is against both the Muslim Brotherhood and the military. They arrested him because they want to round 25 January revolutionaries before the anniverssary of Mohamed Mahmoud on the 19th."

The Muslim Brotherhood was banned by a Cairo court in September amid a security crackdown on its members following Morsi's ouster. 

Last week, protests quickly escalated in Zagazig University when clashes erupted on campus between Brotherhood students and university staff.

Egyptian universities have become a hub of protests in support of Morsi amid a sustained crackdown campaign against the Muslim Brotherhood by security forces.

Protests have repeatedly spiraled into violence, and dozens of students have been arrested since the start of the new academic year in September.

Police stormed Al-Azhar Unviersity in Cairo on 30 Ocotober upon the request of the university president to disperse protests that quickly esclated into clashes between Morsi supporters and their opponents on campus.

At least 43 students of Al-Azhar were referred to misdmeanour court last week over charges of causing riots on campus and damaging an administrative building.  

On Thursday, a Cairo court sentenced 12 university students to 17 years in prison as a result of riots at Al-Azhar headquarters in October. 

The students were found guilty of attempting to storm the headquarters of the institution, inciting riots and attacking Al-Azhar employees and security personnel, as well as sabotaging public and private property.

Earlier in September, a proposal issued by the Supreme Council of Universities to grant powers of arrest to university security guards stirred controversy.

The interim cabinet sidestepped the proposal, which had sparked fears of a return to a policy of intimidating politically active students.

However, as tensions rise on campuses across Egypt, police have repeatedly intervened in university politics to disperse clashes and protests.

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