Rights groups condemn violent crackdown on Cairo University protest

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By Mai Shams El-Din

CAIRO: Rights groups issued a statement on Thursday condemning the army’s violent crackdown on Cairo University’s mass communication students’ protest.

The statement was issued by eight human rights organizations including the Egyptian Association for Community Participation Enhancement, the Arab Network for Human Rights Information, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights and the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression among others.

The army forcibly dispersed the protest on Wednesday evening after failing to convince the students to end their sit-in using cattle prods, leaving many students hospitalized.

Students were demanding the ouster of the dean of the mass communication department whom they accused of being part of the old regime and a member of the policies committee of the National Democratic Party (NDP).

“Egypt’s students are part of the January 25 Revolution which brought together many sectors of the society to claim their freedom and get rid of tools of repression that restricted their freedoms for decades,” the statement issued by the rights groups read.

“The presence of military forces on campus is illegitimate since it violates students’ rights and freedoms according to Article 13 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights signed by Egypt.”

The rights groups also confirmed that violating such a convention contradicts with the Supreme Council of Armed Forces’ commitment to international agreements.

“Using violence against protesters reminds us with State Security when they controlled all aspects of university life, and it is even worse when military police uses excessive force against students,” the statement read.

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