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Egypt: Wave of protests sweeps universities - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Smoke rises over Al-Azhar University after students lit a fire at the dorm gates to lessen the impact of tear gas fired by police in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday Dec. 8, 2013 (AP Photo/Mohamed Hassan)

Smoke rises over Al-Azhar University after students lit a fire at the dorm gates to lessen the impact of tear gas fired by police in Cairo, Egypt, December 8, 2013 (AP Photo/Mohamed Hassan)

Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat—Universities across Egypt saw a wave of angry protests by Muslim Brotherhood-linked students on Sunday, calling for the closure of universities and the immediate release of all students arrested at anti-government protests during the recent violence in Egypt.

Speaking exclusively to Asharq Al-Awsat on condition of anonymity, an Egyptian cabinet source said: “Universities will firmly confront any attempts targeting the safety of students and the security of their facilities.

“Deterrent decisions will be taken that will lead up to the suspension of students who violate university resolutions. There is no intention at all of suspending studies or postponing exams.”

Meanwhile, engineering students at Cairo University continued their sit-in for the second day in protest against the killing of one of their colleagues during clashes with the security forces and the newly passed protest law.

The students dismissed police calls to end the rally, which they started on Saturday.

Reportedly, protesters have set up tents at the university campus and asked their teachers to join them.

The sit-in, the first to take place since security forces broke up the pro-Mursi rally at Rabaa Al-Adawiyah square in August, has become a source of embarrassment for the military-backed authorities.

In exclusive comments to Asharq Al-Awsat, Cairo University sources said that the university has yet to take any measures to disperse the sit-in, and does not have any intention of using force against the students.

Also on Sunday, clashes erupted between police and protestors after hundreds of pro-Mursi students tried to storm Al-Azhar University headquarters.

The students also attempted to block a major highway near the campus.

Students from the university who spoke with Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity said that security forces stormed students’ residence halls and used tear gas and birdshot to disperse protestors.