Ministry of Interior spokesman Hany Abdel Latif warned students on Sunday that security forces will detain anyone attempting to disrupt ongoing exams at Al-Azhar University, but university students have claimed that clashes continue on campus.
Abdel Latif added that a large number of security forces are present both on and off campus to secure the continuation of the examination process.
Spokesman for Al-Azhar Student Union Abdallah Abdel Motaleb said that heavy security presence within campus has prompted the clashes, adding that some students have intended to boycott exams until their detained colleagues are released.
Abdel Motaleb claimed that security forces were pushed back by students at the dorm headquarters after police forces used tear gas, birdshots and live ammunition to disperse protesters.
State-run newspaper Al-Ahram said that security officials have denied using rubber shots or birdshots, and have only used tear gas to disperse protesters.
This is the second day of clashes at Al-Azhar University where Saturday saw one student shot dead, 14 injured and 101 students arrested following clashes; police claimed that they found Molotov cocktails, fireworks and pellet guns in their possession.
In an official statement, the interior ministry claimed that those arrested were students belonging to the “terrorist organisation” of the Muslim Brotherhood, and stormed inside the faculties of Commerce, Science and Theology.
“The students had pellet guns with which they terrorised other students and university staffers, firing several shots and destroying the seating lists,” stated the government ministry. ”When the security forces interfered to control the situation, the students set the building of the Faculty of Commerce on fire.”
Students Against the Coup (SAC) denied the ministry’s accusation claiming that the police themselves were responsible for the fire.
The Anti-Coup Alliance, a coalition which supports the Muslim Brotherhood, commended the Al-Azhar students in a statement saying that the “will of the students prevailed” and that “their strike was successful”.
The alliance also called on protesters to support the Al-Azhar student protest movement calling on “anti-coup” demonstrators to head towards Nasr City in support of their “steadfastness”.
Al-Azhar demonstrations have occurred since the start of the semester to protest against the death and detainment of fellow students since the dispersal of sit-ins at Rabaa Al-Adaweya and Al-Nahda Square, as well as the oust of former president Mohamed Morsi.