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Student groups announce ‘Black Week’ of protests

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Groups, including the El-Midan Student Group, Revolutionary Socialist Students, and Revolutionary Front Students accuse government of “antagonising” students

Egyptian students who support the Muslim Brotherhood and ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi clash with riot police following a demonstration outside Cairo University on 26 March, 2014. (AFP/ file photo)

Egyptian students who support the Muslim Brotherhood and ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi clash with riot police following a demonstration outside Cairo University on 26 March, 2014.
(AFP/ File photo)

A group of student bodies released a joint statement late Saturday calling on the government to stop “antagonising the people”. They also announced a number of upcoming protests decrying human rights violations at universities, and calling on the government to allow detained students to take their exams on time.

The student bodies, which include the El-Midan Student Group, Revolutionary Socialist Students, Revolutionary Front Students, and the Student Union of the Faculty of Engineering at Cairo University, have dubbed the protests, which will take place next week, “Black Week for Universities”.

The pro-Morsi student group, Students Against the Coup (SAC) also released a statement on Saturday demanding the rights of detained and suspended students to take their exams.

The group announced that according to its count, only 150 students out of 1,600 were allowed to take their first semester exams during their detention. The group condemned “the stubbornness of the putschist interior ministry” that denied the students the opportunity to take their exams, and accused university administrations of being “involved” in making the required paperwork difficult.

Mohamed Sarhan, president of the El-Midan Student Group, said coordination with SAC is out of the question. “We tried to coordinate with them during the first semester for common goals, but they used us as a step for their ulterior motive that we disagree about, which is the return of [former president Mohamed] Morsi,” he said.

The SAC also referred to the “dire conditions” that the detained students are suffering from, which would hinder their ability to study for their exams even if they were allowed to take them in prison.

The Ministry of Interior media centre said statistics regarding the number of students taking exams are unavailable, as each was prosecuted separately.

Violence inside universities has been escalating since the beginning of the school year in October. The newly appointed Minister of Education Wael El-Degwi limited the first term to eight weeks following a number of deadly clashes took place at Cairo University between security forces and the SAC, and a bomb explosion outside the Faculty of Engineering.

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AbdelHalim H. AbdAllah

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