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Cairo Court for Urgent Matters upholds legality of police presence on campuses

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SAC calls for protests at Ain Shams, Cairo universities

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 Cairo Court for Urgent Matters upheld a ruling on Tuesday that put Interior Ministry security forces in charge of security on university campuses.

The decision to have security inside university campuses has been ruled on numerous times since the January 2011 uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak. In March Minister of Higher Education Wael El-Degwy said that only administrative security would be present inside campuses, forcing interior ministry security forces to stay outside campus unless their incursion is authorised by university administration.

Amira Abdel-Hamid, who works with the Association for the Freedom of Thought and Expression, said Tuesday’s ruling was “definitely not correct”, adding that the Court for Urgent Matters is “not concerned with this matter”.

“Police are going to be called on campus anyways,” she said, referring to the Minister of Higher Education’s decree that allows university administrations to request police presence on campus. “Legally,” she said, “this decision does not matter.”

Until 2010, the Ministry of Interior was responsible for providing Homeland Security personnel to secure universities. In 2010, the Supreme Administrative Court banned this decision, establishing “administrative” university security. The decision came into effect after the January 2011 uprising.

On 24 February, the same court ruled that security personnel from the Ministry of Interior to secure university campuses.

Mohamed Abdel Salam, researcher at AFTE’s Student Observatory, described February’s verdict as “worthless”.

Also Tuesday, Students Against the Coup (SAC) called for protests at Cairo and Ain Shams universities to protest the “counterrevolution and deep state” as well as a show of support for detained and expelled university students.

SAC, a pro-Morsi opposition bloc comprised of university students, has chapters in most universities around the country. Students have been especially active in Cairo, Ain Shams and Al-Azhar universities, where clashes with security forces are common.

According to the Association for Freedom and Thought and Expression, at least 14 university students have been killed this scholastic year.

Students Against the Coup, founded shortly after Mohamed Morsi’s 3 July ouster, refuses to recognise the legitimacy of the ruling interim authorities, referring to the military-backed ouster of Egypt’s first democratically elected president a “coup”.

The group has repeatedly called for Egyptians to boycott participation in the formation of a new government, first with the constitutional referendum on 14-15 January, and now with the upcoming presidential elections, slated to take place 26-27 May.

In Tuesday’s call to protest, the Ain Shams chapter of SAC called the presidential elections “a comic, theatrical play”, adding “the military should not rule” Egypt.


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