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Middle East

Egyptian students clash with security forces

At least two students killed and over 100 arrested as protesters defy anti-terror law outlawing Muslim Brotherhood.

Last updated: 29 Dec 2013 21:40
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The Ministry of Interior said 101 students were also arrested on Saturday

Egyptian students opposed to the July 3 coup have clashed with police at a university campus in Cairo and set two buildings on fire, state television reported.

Two student activists have been killed, and four others were injured, during the violence on Saturday at the Al-Azhar University campus, according to the Ministry of Health.

The first student was killed after being hit in the face with a birdshot, while another succumbed to gunshot wounds.

The Ministry of Interior said 101 students were also arrested on Saturday.

State-run newspaper Al-Ahram said the clashes began when security forces fired tear gas to disperse pro-Brotherhood students who were preventing their colleagues from entering university buildings to take exams. Protesters threw rocks at the police and set tyres on fire to counter tear gas attacks.

State TV broadcast footage of black smoke billowing from the faculty of commerce building, and reported that protesters also set the agriculture faculty building on fire.

Al-Azhar, a centre of Sunni Islamic learning, has for months been the scene of protests against what the Brotherhood calls a "military coup" that deposed former President Mohamed Morsi after a year in office.

Security sources confirmed that nine Al-Azhar students have been killed in clashes with police since the start of the school year in September.

Youssof Salheen, a spokesman of the pro-Brotherhood Students Against the Coup movement, told Al Jazeera that Khaled El-Haddad, a student at Al-Azhar's School of Commerce died at campus, but did not clarify the cause of death.

The violence followed a day of clashes across the country that left five people dead.

Supporters of the Brotherhood took to the streets on Friday after the government designated the group a terrorist organisation - a move that increases the penalties for dissent against the military-led government installed after Morsi was overthrown.

On Saturday, a prosecutor ordered the continued detention of seven Al-Azhar students that were arrested during clashes on Thursday. The students are the first to be ordered detained by prosecutors on accusations of belonging to a terrorist group.

Human Rights Watch called the government's designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation "politically driven" and said it intended to expand "the crackdown on peaceful Brotherhood activities and imposing harsh sanctions on its supporters".

Morsi was the country's first elected president who took the power after the toppling of veteran leader Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

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Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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