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Egyptian court bans unpermitted protests at universities

A Cairo court has banned unpermitted protests at universities, where ongoing demonstrations have led to clashes with security forces, student detentions and even fatalities

Elsayed Gamal Eldeen, Monday 30 Dec 2013
Protesters shout slogans against the military and interior ministry, while gesturing with four fingers in front of riot police after blocking Al Nasr street in front of Al-Azhar University headquarters at Cairo's Nasr City district, November 19, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)

A Cairo Court for Urgent Matters banned on Monday demonstrations on university campuses without prior authorisation from university presidents, a judicial source told Ahram Online.

A lawyer for controversial television talk-show host Tawfiq Okasha brought a case demanding the banning of any protest on campuses without authorisation from university heads.

Security forces will immediately step in to disperse non-authorised protests, the source elaborated.

The court reasoned the legislature gave the right to the university president to take the necessary actions to protect the lives of students and maintain security on campuses.

A new protest law, issued in November,  allows government authorities to apply sanctions against those who demonstrate without acquiring a legal permission.

The penalties against students who are involved in unpermitted demonstrations can reach expulsion.

Universities have been off-limit to police since a 2010 court ruling banned Interior Ministry guards, known for their heavy-handed tactics, from operating on their grounds.

Since the start of the academic year in September, Egyptian universities transformed into hubs of protests by Islamist supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi, ousted by the army in July amid massive nationwide protests against his rule.

Clashes between students and police, some of which have incurred fatalities, are reported on near-daily basis.

Scores of students have also been arrested amid the unrest since the beginning of the school year.

Demonstrations in recent weeks have been concentrated at Al-Azhar University campuses in Cairo and other governorates where some student protesters have boycotted and attempted to disrupt semester exams.

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