Student protests broke out in several Egyptian universities on Tuesday, resulting in sporadic clashes.
In Mansoura University, an on-campus student protest organised by Students Against the Coup was attacked by unknown assailants who broke into the university. Clashes ensued, with security forces refraining from interfering to disperse the protesters, according to the Student Observatory, a subsection of the Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE).
The Ministry of Interior (MOI) in a statement about the clashes said security forces have abstained from interfering and will continue to do so until the president of Mansoura University asks for their interference. The MOI stressed that the ministry was monitoring the situation, which it described as clashes amongst students belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood and those who oppose them. The statement said that the clashes led to a number of trees on campus being set on fire.In Azhar University hundreds of students chanted against the presence of Central Security Forces on campus, with shouts of, “The university is free; out with the Ministry of Interior (MOI)!” The protest ended right after security forces moved outside the university campus.
In Zagazig University, unknown attackers broke into the Department of Mechanical Engineering searching for students belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood who were involved in the clashes that took place the day before. According to AFTE, students expressed their anger that the university administrative security had not prevented the aggressors from vandalising the building.
Zagazig’s Monday clashes were between the university administrative security and Students Against the Coup who were organising a protest from the Faculty of Engineering that was calling for the release of detained women.
In front of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine on Tuesday, students belonging the Muslim Brotherhood organised a flash mob simulating a scene from the 14 August dispersal of the Rabaa Al-Adaweya sit-in. The students were divided in to two groups, with one playing the role of security forces and others playing the role of the protesters.
In Minya University, meanwhile, Students Against the Coup formed a human chain in front of the Faculty of Fine Arts, demanding the return of ousted President Mohamed Morsi and calling for the release of the students detained during late October’s clashes at Al-Azhar University.
In Cairo University hundreds of students rallied across the university campus protesting against the controversial draft Protest Law and what they called the “military coup”, and calling for the “return of legitimacy”. The students also showed their support forAl- Ahly football player Ahmed Abdel Zaher by holding posters of him.
Ahmed Abdel Zaher had stirred controversy on Sunday when, after scoring a goal against South Africa’s Orlando Pirates, he held up the Rabaa sign, viewed as an expression of support for former President Morsi. Ahly club decided to punish the player by putting him for sale in January and preventing him from playing in the Club World Championship.
The clashes at Mansoura University are the second to take place on that campus in the same week, as students from the Faculty of Physical Education attacked students from the Faculty of Engineering due to a political dispute. The president of the university made a statement on Monday apologising for calling the attacked students “thugs”, assuring that the injured students would be treated under the university’s budget. The statement also mentioned the names of the students to be suspended from both schools.
The Anti-Coup Alliance called for a “thunderous million-man march” on Tuesday in support of student freedom.
“We demand civilian security that is independent, trained, and comprehends how to protect the students, and at the same time preserves their right to freedom of expression,” Mohamed Abdel Salam from AFTE Student Observatory said. “[AFTE Student Observatory] refuses the presence of Central Security Forces, even outside the university campus, as this represents a return to pre-revolution security violations.”
University officials were not available for comment.