27 Students detained in Al-Azhar clashes

Ahram Online, Sunday 29 Dec 2013

Protests and clashes continue at Al-Azhar University despite the intervention of security forces and the detention of students

Al-Azhar clashes
Al-Azhar University students who support the Muslim Brotherhood and deposed President Mohamed Mursi, shout slogans and dance in front of riot police during clashes at the university's campus in Cairo's Nasr City district December 29, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)

Security forces have detained 27 Al-Azhar University students belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood involved in unrest during the exams that started on Saturday.

Preliminary investigations charges them with rioting, chaos, violations against security forces, destruction of public property and resisting arrest. Troops arrested five people from outside the gender-segregated university on charges of assaulting security officers.

Clashes in different faculties

Clashes have been taking place in front of the faculty of commerce on the male campus of Al-Azhar between security officers and students, who have been trying to disrupt exams for a second day. The university postponed some exams at the faculty.

Fires have broken out in many facilities of the university including at a store in the faculty of Islamic studies and in an arboretum in the faculty of agriculture.

Still in the male campus, some students went on rooftops and chanted slogans against the ministry of Interior as well as, "Islamic, Islamic."

In the female campus in the faculty of engineering, students belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood stormed in the exams hall after an hour after the start of the exam and tore up exam papers.

The administration of the university postponed the exam -- and with the help of security forces -- detained students who tore up exams.

Exams took place regularly in faculties of Arab and Islamic studies and science on the female campus.

Meanwhile, at the Assiut Campus of Al-Azhar University, Mohamed Abdel Shafi, the university’s deputy president, said the administration of the faculty of law has been meeting to postpone exams scheduled for Sunday.

Abdel Shafi also said that exams took place in the university as scheduled in 13 faculties out of 15. He stressed that exams were rescheduled only in the science and law faculties due to disruptions.

Security forces actions

Colonel Gamal Abdel A`al, assistant to the minister of Interior, and General Nasser Hassan have ordered security forces to increase their presence at Al-Azhar University and to detain all students taking part in demonstrations and clashes. Clashes continued at the university nonetheless.

Seven detained students were referred to prosecutors.

A movement called "Students against Coup" related to students supporting the Brotherhood said that security forces have used rubber bullets against demonstrators.

They said that there are a many injured who arrived at a field hospital in a building inside the university.

A security source told Ahram Arabic, however, that security forces have not used any rubber bullets, and that they only used tear gas to disperse the students.

He added that a total of 101 pro-Muslim Brotherhood students have been arrested in clashes and accused them of using weapons.

On Saturday, pro-Morsi students prevented other students on campus to attend the first day of exams. However, in three leading universities -- Cairo, Ain Shams and Alexandria -- exams have been taking place despite previous clashes.

Universities have witnessed numerous clashes since the new academic year commenced in October amid frequent rallies supporting former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, who was toppled on 3 July .

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