Egypt students plan more university protests

Faculty to rally against new government measures restricting political dissent on college campuses.

Students reported clashes between protesters and police on Sunday [AP]

University staff in Egypt have planned fresh protests against new government measures restricting political dissent in colleges and proposing stricter laws for faculty members.

At least 13 students were arrested on Sunday during police raids on large anti-government protests at the campuses of at least two major universities, including the University of Cairo and al-Azhar in the capital.

The student protest movement will not stop. We want our voice to be heard that the students of Egypt don't accept the coup and the military rule.

by Youssef Salhen

The student demonstrations, against what they termed repressive university policies, and also against the 2013 toppling of the elected Muslim Brotherhood-led government, coincided with the start of the academic year.

On Sunday, student protesters smashed a number of metal detectors that were recently installed as a part of intensified security measures to prevent any resurgence of demonstrations in support of the former president, Mohamed Morsi, who was overthrown by the military.

Last year, at least 16 students were killed and hundreds were arrested during university protests that regularly descended into violence. 

This year, government officials have warned that any protests will not be tolerated.

Authorities have hired a private security firm to search students and installed metal detectors and cameras around campuses. New fortified walls were built and troops were permanently deployed outside campuses.

Youssef Salhen, a spokesmen for the students, said protesters clashed briefly with police outside al-Azhar University on Sunday. 

Clashes and arrests

Salhen said students attacked the newly installed metal detectors, which he described as symbols of new “repressive measures” against the student protest movement.

He said tightening restrictions on student activities and protests would not prevent rallies. 

“The student protest movement will not stop,” he said. “We want our voice to be heard that the students of Egypt don’t accept the coup and the military rule. If we don’t protest, it means everything is okay.”

He said that authorities had arrested more than 40 students and organisers from their homes ahead of Sunday’s scheduled protests. Al Jazeera could not independently verify that claim. 

Student leaders say more than 1,800 people have been jailed for opposing President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s leadership since he seized power from Morsi last year.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies