Security forces arrested 24 protesters on Tuesday, following clashes that erupted after students were attacked by unknown assailants as they held a sit-in at the Mansoura University campus.
The violence broke out during a protest calling for the dismissal of university president Al-Sayed Abdel Khaleq and for investigations into the death of Gehad Moussa, a student who was run over by a car on 2 April.
Assailants attacked the protesters, hurled rocks at the university buildings and threw fireworks into buildings, according to Mohamed Tarek Kamal, a member of 6 April Youth Movement in Mansoura.
Although the protest included students from several political groups, including the 6 April Youth Movement, the Ahrar Movement, Al-Wasat Party, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the Salafi Front, the Al-Dostour Party, and Misr Al-Qawia, the arrested protesters were predominantly members of the Ahrar group. Ahrar is composed of supporters of disqualified presidential candidate Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, according to Mahmoud Lahzy, a member of the Al-Dostour Party in Mansoura.
The 6 April Youth Movement issued a statement on Wednesday, affirming the presence of these political groups and condemning the attacks.
Ahmed Arafa, a member of the Hazemoon group supporting Abu Ismail, who was arrested in December for allegedly being responsible for attacking Al-Wafd Party headquarters, was among the arrested protesters, according to Hisham El-Shafe’y, a member of the Al-Raya Salafi Party led by Abu Ismail.
El-Shafe’y denied that Ahrar is part of the Hazemoon group or the Al-Raya party. He claimed that Hazemoon and Al-Raya did not participate in Tuesday’s protests.
Hossam El-Sharqawy, the coordinator of Al-Raya Party in Giza, confirmed El-Shafe’y’s claims. “We support students’ right to protest freely inside the university campus, and we issued a statement condemning attacking them, but this does not mean that we are involved in the situation.”
The Al-Raya Party issued a statement on Wednesday, condemning the attack and arrest of Ahrar members, claiming that they were arrested while their attackers remain free. “We are monitoring the ongoing situation and we are ready to take suitable decisions regarding these violations,” read the statement.
The Salafi Front also announced its condemnation of the attacks in a statement issued on Wednesday, asserting their support for the protesters.
The Ministry of Interior and FJP could not be reached for comments on the incident.