Egypt ministry denies storming Azhar University

"Security forces were forced to use teargas to disperse students who blocked al-Nasr Street, the main road the links between eastern and central Cairo," the ministry said.

Egypt ministry denies storming Azhar University

World Bulletin/News Desk

Egypt's Interior Ministry dismissed reports that police forces had stormed Azhar University's campus during protests by students backing ousted president Mohamed Morsi.

"Reports that the security forces stormed the university are baseless and void of truth," the ministry, which controls the police forces, said in a statement.

"Security forces were forced to use teargas to disperse students who blocked al-Nasr Street, the main road the links between eastern and central Cairo," it added.

Earlier in the day, an Anadolu Agency correspondent in the scene reported that policemen chased students who were setting out in a march from the university to the nearby Rabaa Al-Adawiya Square. Some teargas canisters were fired inside the university's campus.

Eyewitnesses told AA that security troops stormed the campus during the chase before withdrawing shortly. A university official denied the allegation, saying that the troops were "only dispersing the students who gathered at the university's entry."

Several students suffered injuries and teargas inhalation as clashes ensued. Many students were arrested, the eyewitnesses said.

The university administration dismissed reports on a decision to suspend study for a week on the background of the violence. "No such decision has been made yet," the university's president, Ahmed al-Abd, said in a statement.

"Despite the protests, lectures were given as usual and attended by students who do not belong to the Muslim Brotherhood or other pro-Morsi groups," Al-Abd said in a statement.

The protests came as part of demonstrations called by the so-called 'Students Against Coup' protest movement.

Earlier in the day, the group called for "a major uprising" in the Azhar University to denounce Morsi's overthrow by the army and to call for the release of students arrested in earlier protests.

"Our revolution against the coup, the military rule, the clerics of the army and the failed university administration is set to start," the group's statement said, in reference to the support shown by the country's top religious authorities to Morsi's ouster.

On Saturday, the first day of study at Al-Azhar University, scores of students staged protests to denounce what they call the "military coup" against the elected president.

Chanting anti-military slogans, students flashed the now-iconic bright yellow 'Rabaa' sign in solidarity with hundreds of demonstrators killed in the violent dispersal of pro-Morsi protest camps in Cairo in mid-August.

The Rabaa al-Adawiya Square has since been heavily guarded by police and army troops.

The university's students' union had earlier said that it would stage protests on campus against the July military ouster of Morsi.

The union, which is dominated by Muslim Brotherhood members, said that more than 100 university students had died in pro-democracy protests in addition to the detention of more than 120 students.

Study at Al-Azhar University has been postponed for two weeks for what the university administration described as "unfinished" maintenance work.

But student sources said that the move was taken for "security reasons", given the fact that the university is a stronghold for Muslim Brotherhood students.

Last Mod: 20 Ekim 2013, 16:43
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