Islamist students protest in Cairo, attack Al Arabiya crew

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Egyptian police fired tear gas at Islamist students who pelted them with rocks during an anti-army protest in Cairo’s al-Azhar university on Sunday.

The students, who are supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohammad Mursi, climbed on the campus fence and waved the four-fingered “Rabaa hand” salute, which represents protests at a previous site occupied by members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Al Arabiya’s crew members were attacked by the students while trying to cover the protest.

A group of Islamist students confiscated the team’s camera and some personal documents, said Randa Abou el-Azm, Al Arabiya’s Cairo-based correspondent.

About 3,000 students initially blocked the main Nasr road leading to the university’s campus.

The Egyptian interior ministry said students clashed with the police as they tried to persuade them to leave.

The police later used tear gas in attempt to disperse the protest. No casualties were reported in the clashes, a security official said.

“Police did not storm the university’s campus,” Ibrahim al-Hodhud, deputy head of al-Azhar university told Al Arabiya.

“The university is not responsible for security outside its walls. What is happening went far beyond what can be considered as peaceful demonstrations. [Pro-Mursi] students have written phrases on the university buildings and have attempted to storm some,” Hodhud added.

Islamists who reject the military-installed government have regularly staged protests against the army, which toppled Mursi on July 3 after millions took to the streets demanding his resignation.

More than 1,000 people, mostly Mursi’s backers, were killed in clashes in the ensuing crackdown on the former president’s Muslim Brotherhood movement.

Another 2,000 people, mostly Islamists, have been detained.

(with AFP)