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Students begin semester with protests

Falcon private security firm maintains strict security measures at university gates

Azhar University students protest on November 2013. (Photo by Mohamed Omar\File)
Azhar University students protest on November 2013.
(Photo by Mohamed Omar\File)

Students at Cairo University and Al-Azhar University kicked off the new semester with short protests on campus, Students Against the Coup (SAC) said on Sunday.

The student group, formed in July 2013 after the military ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi, wrote in a statement published on the Muslim Brotherhood’s official website, calling on the Egyptian people “to unite in the face of the military state until the junta is ultimately defeated”.

Security forces entered Al-Azhar University shortly after female students joined for a protest in front of the cafeteria, SAC said.

Meanwhile, Falcon security forces maintained strict measures, with x-ray machines, revolving metal security gates, and metal detectors manned by the private security guards. Students are prohibited from entering the university with cameras, for example.

At least 15 universities across Egypt have signed contracts with Falcon private security firm to be present on campuses.

Earlier this week, security forces arrested 33 students from an academic course session on “campaign making” in Alexandria.

National Security later interrogated the arrested students, who now face several charges. These include disturbing the educational system, possessing flyers confirming the disruption, and joining the “terrorist” Muslim Brotherhood organisation, according to Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) lawyer Mohab Saed.

Since Morsi’s ouster in July 2013, security forces have escalated measures against university students, and have arrested over 300 students from universities across Egypt since the start of the academic year on 11 October.

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