Cairo University engineering students begin strike to protest violence on campus

Marina Barsoum , Thursday 20 Mar 2014

Striking students blame security forces for the previous day's violence on the campus in which two students allegedly wounded by live ammunition

Cairo University law school in the aftermath of protesters riot (Photo: Albert Raafat)

Students at Cairo University Engineering Faculty began a strike on Thursday in protest against the previous day's violence on campus in which security forces clashed with pro-Muslim Brotherhood student groups, according to Al-Ahram's Arabic news website.

Students in favour of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi protested at several universities across Egypt on Wednesday, resulting in clashes when security forces arrived to disperse them.

Two were killed and 30 injured in the clashes, according to the health ministry.

The striking students at Cairo University, who are from the engineering faculty, condemned the presence of security forces on campus and called for all students detained in the clashes to be released.

They also urged all other students at the university to join their strike.

At Cairo University, explosive experts defused two bombs at the school's law faculty that they say were planted by the Brotherhood, according to Al-Ahram's Arabic news website.

The two bombs were found inside the law faculty later in the day, according to security sources.

Violence erupted during the day at the law school as security forces squared off with protesting students.

Dean of the law school, Mahmoud Kabish, condemned the violence, alleging that many of the protesters had not been students and had destroyed security cameras across the university before the clashes began.

Kabish said that students involved in the clashes will be referred to the university's disciplinary committee and then suspended if found guilty.

Also on Wednesday at Cairo University, students were dispersed by security forces who fired tear gas when they tried to march to the nearby Giza security directorate, according to Al-Ahram's news website.

Two female engineering students were reportedly injured by live ammunition during the clashes on campus, according to state-run news agency MENA.

Clashes also took place on Wednesday at Al-Azhar University in the east Cairo district of Nasr City, where police fired tear gas to disperse protesting students.

Prosecutors told Ahram Online that investigations have begun into seven Al-Azhar students arrested on Wednesday for rioting and staging illegal protests.

Eight female students from Al-Azhar's pharmacy school have been suspended for up to two years.

The scene at Al-Azhar University was calmer on Thursday as security forces intensified their presence at the campus gates.

Al-Azhar's student union has issued a statement expressing outrage that university administrators ordered security forces to disperse the protests.

Wednesday's renewed protests were part of a campaign by the pro-Brotherhood coalition the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy (NASL), which earlier this week called for an 11-day extended protest to mark the three-year anniversary of a constitutional referendum the Brotherhood supported on 19 March 2011.

Other rallies were also held by Brotherhood supporters on Wednesday in several governorates including Sharqiya, Gharbiya, Damietta and Beheira. 

Universities in the cities of Mansoura, Beni Suef and Cairo – including Cairo University and Al-Azhar University – witnessed clashes between pro-Brotherhood students and security forces.

In Beni Suef, Amr Mohamed Ali Kafaty, 13, was shot dead outside of Beni Suef University's campus when clashes erupted between police and students, according to the health ministry.

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