Engineering students of Cairo University held a protest on Wednesday in condemnation of the General Prosecution statement which said that fellow student Mohamed Reda was killed by weapons carried by demonstrators.
A second-year engineering student, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that around 600 gathered inside the Engineering Faculty to begin protesting.
“The students closed the gates of the administrative building for an hour, and then closed the campus gate [to] cars for 30 minutes,” the student said.
According to the statement, the students then decided to protest in front of the University Dome. The students chanted against the Ministry of Interior and “professors who are not helping our cause” the student added.
A major conflict erupted during the demonstration when a protester raised the Rabaa sign, which breached the agreement made between protesters to exclude any politically-affiliated signs or chants, the student stated.
In the Qasr Al-Aini Faculty of Medicine, students have decided to boycott classes on Wednesday. A statement from the faculty’s students union demanded “the withdrawal of police forces from the area around Cairo University, the immediate release of the detained students until their trials begin and a complaint is submitted against Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim accusing him of killing Reda”.
In Alexandria, Students Against the Coup (SAC) in the Engineering Faculty announced a sit-in in front of the the faculty’s administrative building, according to a statement by SAC. The students raised a banner reading “Building is closed until the detained students are released”.
Alexandria University SAC students also marched from their campus to Al-Qaed Ibrahim mosque.
A cabinet statement read that Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi met with Minister of Higher Education Hossam Eissa, who is also deputy prime minister, and the chairmen of state universities on Wednesday to discuss the current situation facing Egyptian universities.
According to the statement, the conferees agreed that disabling the schooling process will not be allowed. The statement added that political work is allowed in universities “as long as students abide by university restrictions”.
“The state is keen on applying the law; any violation to the law by the students will be met with deterring sanctions,” the statement added.
Universities have been a major site for protest since the beginning of the 2013/2014 school year. Protests have escalated after the death of Cairo University Engineering student Reda on 28 November during the dispersal of a student protest by police forces.
On 1 December, police forces dispersed a protest organised by SAC in Tahrir Square, where the students marched from Cairo University. The dispersal led to minor clashes between both sides in Talaat Harb Street in Downtown Cairo.