Demonstrations and clashes continue at Al-Azhar University

Ahram Online, Tuesday 24 Dec 2013

Clashes erupted today after Al-Azhar students blocked off many of the entrances of the university, in protest at detentions of student protesters

Demonstrations and unrest continued at Al-Azhar University in Cairo on Tuesday, as protesting students tried to disrupt exams by blocking many entrances to buildings on the university’s two campuses.

Students clashed with university security personnel; Al-Ahram’s Arabic website reported that demonstrators attacked Colonel Khaled Fahim, director of civil security of the university, who suffered injuries to the head and was taken to hospital.

Police intervened after the incident to calm the situation at the university.

Students have been demanding the release of their colleagues who were detained after anti-government protests and clashes with security forces in incidents over the last month. They also object to the presence of police on campus.

Exams will start at the women's campus on 28 December, but a number of faculty heads have threatened not to supervise students taking the exams unless security on campus is improved.

A post on Al-Azhar Student Union Facebook page stated that security forces had used teargas to disperse students at the men’s campus on Tuesday, while a number of students were detained on the women’s campus.

The page also stated that a number of students decided not to sit for their exams on Tuesday as an act of objection to the detention and intervention of security forces inside the campus.

Al-Azhar, along with a number of other universities, has witnessed numerous anti-government protests since the beginning of the academic year in October.

In November, a pro-Mohamed Morsi Al-Azhar student was shot dead during clashes with security forces.

Earlier in the same month, 12 Al-Azhar University students were sentenced to 17 years in prison over riots at Al-Azhar institution, which oversees the university. They 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.



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