Student killed at Al-Azhar University protest

Ahram Online, Thursday 21 Nov 2013

Snapshot of TV footage shows police forces stationed at Al-Azhar University gates as plumes of teargas billow inside campus in Nasr City district, Cairo, Egypt, November 20, 2013.

A student supporter of deposed president Mohamed Morsi has been shot dead during clashes with security forces at Al-Azhar University.

Police stormed the campus late on Wednesday as violence flared between students throwing petrol bombs and police replying with teargas, state news agency MENA reported.

Protesters threw bricks and stones over the university walls while others set fire to trees on the campus to quell the effect of the teargas, Al-Ahram Arabic news website reported.

The dead student was shot in the head by a birdshot pellet at around midnight.

The death is expected to further heighten tensions at the university, which has witnessed frequent protests by supporters of deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi since the beginning of term in September. 

The clashes on Wednesday came hours after the university administration banned protests on campus and suspended student union activity in response to the turmoil sweeping the university. It also called on police to guard its buildings and quell student unrest.

Sixteen students were arrested, a security official told Al-Ahram on Thursday.

Egypt's army, prompted by mass protests, deposed Morsi on 3 July, throwing the country into violent political turmoil. Authorities have since cracked down hard on Islamists, arresting thousands.

Last week, a court sentenced 12 pro-Morsi students to 17 years in prison for storming the headquarters of Al-Azhar in October.

Several hundred students attempted to storm the headquarters again on Wednesday.

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