Seventeen students were arrested by Central Security Forces (CSF) on Tuesday in the Faculty of Engineering of Shebin Al-Kom in the University of Menufiya, according to the Student Observatory of the Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE).
The arrests came after CSF forces besieged the university campus, where Students Against the Coup (SAC) were protesting against the arrest of a Faculty of Arts student made on the previous day and a four-year sentence handed to another Engineering student.
SAC organised demonstrations in several universities, including Al-Azhar, Ain Shams and Monofeya.
SAC Spokesman Ahmed Ghoniem said: “The students demand the removal of the military regime, retribution for the dead students, including Mohamed Reda, and the halt of the violations against students.”
Mohamed Reda was a student at the Faculty of Engineering -Cairo University (FECU) who was killed with birdshots after CSF forcibly dispersed a student protest near the university late in November.
Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim said in a Cabinet press conference on Tuesday that there is a conspiracy to turn the students against the interior ministry, which is considered a coup against 30 June. Ibrahim said: “We would rather cut our hands off than aim at a student; the students are our children.”
He added: “I am very patient with the students blocking the road in front of Cairo University and I call on all students to focus on their studies.”
“Everyone at the Faculty of Engineering holds the Ministry of Interior responsible for the killing of Mohamed Reda,” said Sherif Hany, teaching assistant at FECU and a founding member of the Revolutionary Front.
He added: “We will not allow the interior ministry to alter history while we are still alive and we demand retribution.” He stressed that the student strike at FECU was not organised by a specific entity and did not take part in the protests organised by SAC in Nahda Square.
“After what happened to Mohamed Reda the students now perceive the interior ministry as a threat, not as the protectors as they claim to be; the students demand retribution for Reda and that both police and military forces would go away from the university campus,” Hany said.
The FECU student strike began on Sunday when several thousand students protested in and around Cairo University after the death of FECU student Mohamed Reda.