World Bulletin / News Desk
Soldiers on Monday used teargas to disperse scores of protesting students from Egypt's Al-Azhar University as the latter attempted to reach Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya Square, eyewitnesses said.
According to witnesses, student protesters poured out of the university campus and tried to reach the nearby square, which had been the site of a major sit-in by supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi that was violently dispersed by security forces on August 14.
Soldiers blocked the street leading up to the square before firing teargas at students who eventually withdrew to the university campus, witnesses added.
The protests come one week before the beginning of Morsi's scheduled trial. The ousted president faces charges of inciting the killing of demonstrators outside the presidential palace last December.
According to one Azhar official, university administrators were no longer able to control the ongoing protests, particularly after they seeped out of the campus and onto the streets.
"Each student is responsible for his or her own safety off campus," the official told Anadolu Agency.
Earlier Monday, eyewitnesses said student protesters had blocked the street outside the university, climbed on top of public buses, raised the now-iconic Rabaa al-Adawiya sign and demanded Morsi's reinstatement.
Students also plastered cars belonging to university administrators – along with several public buses – with stickers featuring the Rabaa sign, witnesses said.
Inside the campus, meanwhile, demonstrators besieged the university's administrative building, raising the Rabaa sign and chanting anti-army slogans.
Eyewitnesses also said students had staged a march outside the administrative building bearing symbolic coffins. One coffin bore the name of an Azhar University student killed during the bloody August 14 dispersal of the Rabaa al-Adawiya sit-in, witnesses said.
Protesting students set off firecrackers and donned the now-famous "V for Vendetta" mask. Pounding on drums, students alternately described their ongoing protests as an "uprising" and a "war," eyewitnesses said.
They said that members of the university's administrative security staff had detained one of their number and accused him of "damaging" the university.
Similar protests also erupted at Azhar University's campus in the Nile Delta city of Tanta.
And at Cairo University, Morsi supporters organized similar marches to demand the release of detained colleagues. Student protesters chanted slogans against the army and in support of the ousted president.
Monday's pro-Morsi protests were, however, countered by other demonstrations in support of Egyptian army chief Gen. Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi.
Pro-army demonstrators chanted in support of the general and against the Muslim Brotherhood, the movement from which Morsi hails.ALast Mod: 28 Ekim 2013, 16:43