Sisi to address nation Sunday night from Cairo University
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi - REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

CAIRO:  President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi will address the nation in a speech from Cairo University Sunday evening during a ceremony honoring top students, Youm7 reported Saturday.

“This is the first time an Egyptian president is going to celebrate students’ success,” Cairo University President Gaber Nassar told Mehwar TV Sunday morning.

Sisi is expected to call on young students to be “patriotic” and “not to be influenced by some movements that aim to disrupt public safety,” Youm7 stated, a likely reference to past student protests.

Security around and in the university began ramping up early Sunday, Deputy Minister of Interior for Transportation Sayed Gad el-Hak told Youm7. He said Sisi will arrive to the university via an aircraft that will land inside the university.

The academic year is due to start on Oct. 11, amid a series of new measures giving university presidents more authority over students and professors. Last week, the Cabinet approved a new law that allows university presidents to expel professors charged with violating university regulations.

Moreover, student political activity has been banned inside universities and police presence in front of universities intensified. This is in addition to administrative security bodies inside universities. In his phone call to Mehwar, Nassar added that “measures to ensure stability will be strictly applied.”

However, Abdullah Sorour, cofounder of the recently established Egyptian Scientists Syndicate, believes students’ energy should be properly directed to become a positive input.

“If you want to prevent students from engaging in politics in the university, keep them busy; there should be a development in extracurricular activities,” Sorour said on ONTV Live Sunday morning. He added that university staffs are not trained enough to become security officers and will not be effective.

From September 2013 to March 2014, it was reported that at least 176 students were killed and another 1,347 detained during violent protests that erupted in more than 24 universities across Egypt, according to statistics released by the Egyptian Free Students Monitor NGO. The protests were largely in response to the military’s ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi and the violent dispersal of the Rabaa al-Adaweya and Nahda Square sit-ins.

Additional reporting by Mahmoud Abdel Rady.

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