Students fight for their rights in Egypt

Egyptian students discuss their experience in gaining political awareness and defending their rights.

    University students have organised several protests to call on deans of various schools at Cairo University to resign. Many of these deans are seen as supporters of Mubarak's government. The students were joined by several professors to express support and solidarity.

    The students decided not to sleep at the university due to fears of attacks by thugs. "The students decided to meet in the university during the day and leave at night as a safety measure," said professor Laila Sweif.

    The university is currently free of the restrictions that belong to Egypt's security apparatus that has been dissolved.

    "We won't leave until at least the president of the university, Hossam Kamel, is discharged," said student Salman Imam.

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    The revolutionaries of art

    Meanwhile, The Academy of Art has witnessed its own revolution by students that call themselves the revolutionaries of art.

    A group of students have organised sit-ins and created a Facebook page that lists their demands. Just like the January 25 revolution, this group does not have a leader.

    Amir, 20, a student of cinema institution, said "we are protesting against the curriculum, the corruption, the unfair treatment that some students have suffered from some of the professors.

    "Before the revolution no one dared to question any of the injustices.

    "We are not against any person in particular and we are not calling for anyone's resignation. We are calling for change in the system. We want a change of the attitude and behaviour.

    "Our main priority is change, we have changed as a people and we are demanding our rights, and they have to change too, if they don't want to change then it's time for them to go."
    Amir says the principles of the revolution have taught him to demand his rights, and to say no to injustice.
    "We started this in the academy, every department in the academy has gathered its own demands and we have decided to put them all in the same communique.

    The students have created a Facebook page that serves as an open forum for discussion, and a place to post their agreed demands.
    "So far we have received a lot of positive feedback from the staff and some of the professors. The administrative staff have decided to join us and they added their own demands to our list... we will unify everybody's demands in one communique."

    "This new-found freedom I have is encouraging me and my colleagues to go on, as long as there is corruption then the revolution must go on, everywhere in Egypt people must find their own mini battles against corruption."
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    'University will be free'

    The university protests has not been limited to Cairo, the university in Mansoura have staged their own protests, thousands of students have joined the sit-ins demand to topple the dean of the university.
    "Mansoura university will continue with their sit-in till the university adminstration is down, Egypt students in Mansoura university are now chanting: "University president will go out, and University will be free" wrote Mohamed A. Hamama a student at the university in his blog.

    One of the main demands that students at the universities have in common is the procedure of appointing professor assistants without the security pre-screening process that was common during Mubarak era. That system is deemed unfair because it favors government aligned people.
    As the student protests continue to echo throughout Egypt, there seems to be some wins. Al Dostor newspaper reported:" for the first time in 4 decades Ain Shams university has decided to appoint 24 university professor assistants without the pre security screening that was common. This is in accordance with the January 25 demands and one of the key student protesters demands."


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