Sunday, November 14, 2010

Students & opposition protest continued police presence on campus

Daily News Egypt
Students, opposition protest continued police presence on campus

November 11, 2010

Marwa Al-A'sar

CAIRO: Dozens of activists from different political groups protested Thursday afternoon outside the main gate of Cairo University in Giza against the continued presence of police on campus.

The protesters called for putting into force the Supreme Administrative Court ruling that upheld on Oct. 23 a previous verdict rendering police presence and work at Cairo University Campus as illegal.

"A red card to police forces on campus … get out … of the campus," protesters shouted.

"We are protesting today against the [non-compliance of the interior ministry] as to the ruling that ends police interference on campus," secretary general of the Egyptian Kefaya Movement for Change Abdel-Halim Qandil said.

"We call for expelling the interior ministry security forces," Qandil told Daily News Egypt, adding that there have been several cases where the Supreme Administrative Court orders were not carried out.

"[We don't want] a regime that does not respect court orders," he said.

Protesters also shouted anti-regime and anti-government slogans as well as other about the possible scenario of the inheritance of power in Egypt.

"Down with Mubarak … Long live the independence of universities," all protesters said in a loud voice.

"Egypt is our homeland … not a property inherited by … the son [Gamal Mubarak]," they said.

"There is a connection between the independence of universities and other political [demands]," Karima El-Hefnawy, member of the National Association for Change (NAC), argued.

"We say no for forging results of elections and yes for kicking police forces out of universities," she told Daily News Egypt.

Members of the March 9 Movement — a group of Cairo University academics who press for university autonomy and academic freedom — were mostly absent from the protest.

"The March 9 Movement activities have to do more with academic affairs … and are conducted inside the campus … The scope of today's protest is a bit wider," activist and psychology professor Aida Saif El-Dawla explained.

"I did not join his protest as a March 9 Movement member; but as an activist representing the Popular Democratic Movement," Saif El-Dawla added.

Hundreds of security forces were deployed on the opposite side of the street and police officers in civilian clothes surrounding the protesters.

A march by Cairo University students that called for similar demands was held inside the campus almost an hour after the activists' protest kicked off.

Thursday's protest was preceded by alleged attacks that a number of professors and students were subject to at Ain Shams University last week.

A number of professors who belong to the March 9 Movement claimed that the administration of Ain Shams University allowed "thugs" to assault students and prevent professors from handing out leaflets on campus.

The leaflets summarized the recent ruling that held the presence of Interior Ministry police officers on Cairo University's campus as illegal, and that these bodies must be replaced with civil security personnel.

Pictures and videos published by daily independent El-Youm El-Sabe' newspaper showed individuals carrying sticks and chains attacking students.

The administration of Ain Shams University responded in a statement to what it called the "false allegations pertaining to the assault on students and allowing bullies into Ain Shams University" circulating in the media.

The statement claimed that the professors got into Ain Shams University "without accessing prior permission from … the administration."

*Additional reporting by Sarah Carr

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