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Egypt: Azhar exams go ahead despite unrest - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Al-Azhar University students who support the Muslim Brotherhood and deposed President Mohamed Mursi, shout slogans and dance in front of riot police during clashes at the university's campus in Cairo's Nasr City district December 29, 2013 (REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

Al-Azhar University students who support the Muslim Brotherhood and deposed President Mohamed Mursi, shout slogans and dance in front of riot police during clashes at the university’s campus in Cairo’s Nasr City district December 29, 2013 (REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat—As violent pro-Muslim Brotherhood protests continued for the third day at Al-Azhar Cairo campus, university president Dr. Osama Al-Abd exclusively told Asharq Al-Awsat that “exams will not be postponed under any circumstances.”

This follows a decision by a Cairo court on Monday to ban unauthorized campus protests in the wake of ongoing demonstrations by students affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.

The new law requires student protesters to gain permits for campus demonstrations from the university authorities, with penalties including expulsion for any students taking part in unauthorized demonstrations.

According to eyewitnesses near the university, clashes between security forces and Islamist students continued on Monday, with protesters temporarily blocking off a main road near the campus in Nasr City.

Police fired tear gas to disperse demonstrators who threw petrol bombs and fireworks, setting some parts of the campus on fire.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on condition of anonymity, security sources said a plan had been devised to secure the exams and the students, and more police forces had been deployed outside the campus.

In exclusive comments to Asharq Al-Awsat, an official source at Al-Azhar University said: “One hundred and twenty nine student rioters affiliated with the Brotherhood have been arrested in the last two days,” adding that the university, in coordination with the interim government, had decided to arrange for the detained students to sit exams.

Since the dispersal of pro-Brotherhood protests at Rabaa Al-Adawiya and Al-Nahda Squares in August, “approximately 1,000 students have been detained, whether those facing political charges or those who have not been indicted yet,” the source said.

The university had intended to arrange for the detained students to take exams on campus in Nasr City, but due to the growing violence these students now had to sit for the exams in an undisclosed location at “one of the university’s engineering centers or workshops near the campus,” the source added.