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|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.
A student activist was killed after being hit in the face with a birdshot, and four others were injured, during the violence on Saturday at the Al-Azhar University campus, according to the Ministry of Health.
The Ministry of Interior said that at least 60 students have been arrested.
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.
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.
It was not immediately possible to confirm the student’s account, and a security source denied there had been any deaths.
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.
Morsi was the country’s first elected president who took the power after the toppling of veteran leader Hosni Mubarak in 2011
A new law allows police to clamp down on all but interior ministry-sanctioned demonstrations [AFP]
|Police have arrested 144 protesters over violent clashes at a university in Cairo that left five students injured, one critically, Egypt’s ministry of interior has said.
The ministry said that the critically injured student was in intensive care with a bullet wound to the chest after the clashes at Al-Azhar University on Monday.
Riot police fired tear gas at protesters at Al-Azhar University and a security official said several police cars were set on fire and petrol bombs thrown at officers in fresh clashes.
The students, supporters of ousted former president Mohamed Morsi, have held persistent protests since the start of the academic year in September.
The clashes came as Mohamed Badie, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, appeared in court for the first time since he was arrested in a state crackdown on the group following the army overthrow of Morsi.
Mahmoud Subeiha, the head of university security, told Egypt’s private CBC TV that he asked the police to enter the campus Monday to put down the protests, which have frequently descended into clashes with police.
The students had rallied on Sunday against the referral of 21 of their colleagues to trial for earlier protests.
Meanwhile, Brotherhood General Guide Badie, 70, denied his group had perpetrated any violence, speaking from the cage reserved for defendants where he appeared with other prominent Islamists, including Mohamed el-Beltagi and Essam el-Erian.
Badie murder probe call
“Why aren’t you investigating the murder of my son, and the burning of my house and the groups’ offices?” said Badie, referring to his 38-year old son killed in August 17 protests ignited by the violent dispersal of Brotherhood
The case being heard on Monday relates to violence that flared in mid-July near a Brotherhood protest camp at Cairo University. Badie faces charges including inciting the violence.
Morsi’s downfall triggered the worst bout of internal strife in Egypt’s modern history.
The security forces killed hundreds of Morsi’s supporters during protests and some 200 soldiers and policemen have been killed. The army deposed Morsi on July 3 following mass protests against his rule.
Most of the Brotherhood’s leadership has been arrested since then.
Morsi is himself standing trial on charges of inciting the killing of protesters during violence outside the presidential palace a year ago. His trial began on November 4.
The defendants interrupted Monday’s session with chanting against generals whom the Brotherhood says have stolen power from the country’s first freely elected head of state.
“Down with military rule,” shouted Beltagi, leading the other defendants in chants.
The men on trial in the case include Bassem Ouda, the former minister of supplies.
Egyptian protests have brought down the governments of Mubarak and Morsi [Gregg Carlstrom]
|Cairo – Egypt’s interim president, Adly Mansour, has signed a restrictive new “protest law” that would require Egyptians to seek approval days in advance before organising demonstrations.
The law will take effect later this week once the final text is published in the official state register. It gives police wide latitude to use force against demonstrators, which could give the government a pretext for a widespread crackdown.
The law has gone through numerous revisions, but rights groups say the latest version requires protesters to seek approval from police three days in advance, and allows the interior ministry to block rallies that could “pose a serious threat to security or peace”.
Election campaign events are subject to a 24-hour notification period in some drafts, and “processions” of more than 10 people are only allowed for “non-political” purposes. Violators could face fines of up to $4,360.
“They could have stuck to earlier versions, where if the interior ministry wants to ban a protest, the onus is on them to go to court and seek a ban,” said Heba Morayef, the Egypt director for Human Rights Watch. “Instead they’ve done the opposite. The end result is that we could see an increase in violent crackdowns on peaceful protests.”
More laws on way
Egypt’s interim cabinet is also debating a slate of other restrictive laws. One would criminalise “abusive graffiti”; another, a vaguely-worded “anti-terrorism” law, could be used to further clamp down on peaceful political activism.
The cabinet says the laws are needed to regulate near-daily protests in Cairo and across the country, some of which turn violent.
Authorities last week lifted a three-month state of emergency and night-time curfew imposed after security forces cleared two Cairo sit-ins filled with supporters of the deposed president, Mohamed Morsi, who was overthrown in July.
More than a thousand people were killed in the clearings and several days of unrest that followed.
Many of the ongoing protests have taken place on university campuses, which have become a hotbed of political unrest.
One person was killed late Wednesday night in clashes at Al-Azhar University between police and student supporters of Morsi. Protesters accused security forces of firing live ammunition at them; the interior ministry said students threw petrol bombs at police. Daily rallies have occurred since at Al-Azhar, Cairo University, and other schools.
Students at al-Azhar have been demonstrating in support of Morsi for weeks [AFP]
|Egyptian police fired teargas at students protesting at Cairo’s al-Azhar university hours after authorities announced the detention of Muslim Brotherhood leader Essam El-Erian, part of a crackdown against the Islamist movement
Students at the country’s top institution for Islamic teachings have been demonstrating for weeks in support of ousted President Mohamed Morsi, who the army toppled in July after mass protests against his rule.
At al-Azhar’s main campus, students smashed windows, hurled chairs and covered the walls of an administrative building with graffiti.
“Sisi is a dog. Down, down with the lord of the army,” one protester scribbled, refering to army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who led the overthrow of Morsi.
One police officer yelled: “Arrest anyone you see. Bring me those kids. If you see anyone just arrest them right away.”
Mustafa el-Agrawi, al-Azhar’s legal adviser, told the ONTV private channel that the students besieged the administrative building, locking up the university chief and several other administrators.
Ahmed Hosni, deputy head of al-Azhar, said the students stormed the offices, trashed documents and computers to “sabotage and destroy the university”. The head of al-Azhar university had called on the police to enter campus grounds to “protect souls and properties”, according to an interior ministry statement.
Erian, the deputy leader of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice party, was taken into custody early on Wednesday from a residence in New Cairo where he had been in hiding.
“He’s been arrested and details will soon be released,” an Interior Ministry source told Reuters news agency.
Local media circulated a photo of what they described as the moment he was arrested, showing a smiling Erian standing next to a bed with two packed duffle bags.
Many Brotherhood leaders have been detained since the army deposed Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected president, and declared a road map leading to elections.
- Egypt police dispel student protest (bbc.co.uk)
- Malaysian Al-Azhar students return to Egypt (worldbulletin.net)
- Azhar students besiege university’s administrative building (worldbulletin.net)
- 55 Arrested in Riot at Cairo’s Al-Azhar University (israelnationalnews.com)
- Several killed outside church in Cairo (aljazeera.com)
Egyptian security forces have fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of students protesting against military rule at Cairo’s al-Azhar university and, according to the Interior Ministry, arrested 55 students.
Clashes between protesters and security forces erupted when the students tried to move their protest out of campus on Sunday. Protesters were seen throwing rocks at security forces and a number of students were arrested.
The group organising the march was responding to a call by the Anti-Coup Alliance for a national uprising against the military-backed leadership that took power after President Mohamed Morsi was ousted on July 3.
Follow our ongoing coverage of the political crisis in Egypt
Protesters were also demanding the release of political detainees.
Similar demonstrations were held at Cairo University and in the district of Abu Hamad in el-Sharqiyah province.
A witness told Reuters news agency that police fired bird shot and tear gas to prevent protesters from marching to the site of a protest camp that was destroyed two months ago.
Al-Azhar is in the same Cairo suburb as the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque, the scene of a former pro-Morsi sit-in where hundreds of protesters were killed as security forces broke up the sit-in.
“Rabaa Square is completely off-limits,” a security source said. “Protesters are not allowed to move inside it.”
Al-Azhar university has long been regarded as the foremost institution in the Islamic world for religious studies, and many students there are supporters of Morsi.
The Interior Ministry told Al Jazeera that 55 students were arrested
Ahead of the new term starting on Saturday, the university warned students not to engage in political activity or they would risk classes being suspended indefinitely.
Since the start of the academic year in September Egyptian university campuses have witnessed a number of protests, mostly by supporters of Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood.
Protests for and against military rule have been held almost daily in various Egyptian cities since Morsi was overthrown and detained.
Hundreds of people have been killed in clashes as security forces have cracked down on Islamist-dominated sit-ins and scores of Brotherhood members have been detained.
Morsi will stand trial on November 4 with 14 other defendants over the killings of protesters outside his presidential palace in December 2012, when demonstrators took to the streets against a decree the president issued to shield his decisions from judicial oversight and a highly disputed draft constitution.
- Islamists clash with riot police (independent.ie)
- Egypt Police, Protesters Clash in Cairo (ivoter.com)