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Student protests rattle Egyptian universities

Published: Updated:

Student protests rattled Egyptian universities for the fourth day on Wednesday, calling for the return of ousted President Mohammad Mursi and raising chants against the military.

Students at the Zagazig University stormed the college of education, disrupting study and forcing teachers to exit classrooms.
Over the past three days, students at the religious Azhar University forced the suspension of studies, prompting a police intervention, in which several students were injured or detained.

A group calling itself “students against the coup” claims to lead protests, which also took place at Cairo University.

Al-Mansoura University President Sayed Abdelkhaleq ordered disciplinary action against 25 students and teachers suspected of encouraging protests.

In an address on the state television Minister of Higher Education Houssam Issa hailed Abdelkhaleq’s move and accused the protesting students of seeking the overthrow of the Egyptian state.

Ashour Abdul Jawad, a professor at Bani Soueif law school, criticized the protests as seeking to disrupt education and impose the Muslim Brotherhood’s agenda.

“Demonstrations are a way to convey a message to the persons in charge, without bringing any harm to the public or private properties where they are happening. But the acts of some students from a specific group have nothing to do with demonstrating...they just want to impose their opinion,” Jawad said.

He added that the government should grant security forces the authority to restore order inside schools and universities.

But Yahiya al-Qazzaz, a member of “Kefaya” movement and a teacher at Halwan University, said no “radical solutions” could end student protests, blaming university directors for provoking student with their pro-army stances.

“They resemble those who add fuel to the fire with their way of dealing with protests,” Qazzaz said, speaking of university directors.

The student protests erupted amid a debate over a draft law that would restrict demonstrations

“As well as placing restrictions on the right to freedom of assembly, the proposed law would give security forces a free rein to use excessive and lethal force against demonstrators - including supporters of deposed President Mohamed Mursi,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, according to Reuters.