CAIRO: More than 70 students were arrested in the first two days of semester, following the state “inappropriately handling its frustration,” Democracy Index (DI) said in a report Tuesday.
“As a result, we call on the system to reconsider its policies. We refer the state back to vital facts when dealing with students’ movements and provide a series of recommendations to stop the conflict,” DI said in its report.
The Egyptian state is recycling policies it has used before to quell student unrest, the group said. In 1929, the government issued a law promoted as “preserving order,” following a student uprising a year earlier and ahead of more protests between 1930 and 1935, DI reported.
Falcon security officers have also been a source of controversy after showing up in large numbers, installing electronic gates and handling security procedures at university entrances.
One Azhar University student told The Cairo Post that Tuesday, for the second time in two days, there were hours-long queues at the female entrance, following complaints from security forces.
She added that Saturday that there was negligence in the search and ID checks. “Today the security men took perfumes from the girls, and their mirrors,” and a man from the university’s administrative security told her they had found “knives with some students,” she told The Cairo Post.
Another Azhar student who goes by the name Zozza el-Deeb on Facebook posted on her account a picture of women inside the universities Sunday carrying Rabaa flags and fireworks.
“Hiring private security companies, which has been costly, is not stopping students. It is only causing their irritation. Unfortunately, it will encourage forming secret organizations aiming at revenge from the state icons and security authorities,” DI stated.
“The assaults on our men were systematic and planned,” Falcon media officer Walid Fouad said in a press statement Tuesday. “On the contrary, we do not carry weapons nor face protests or clashes inside universities,” Fouad added.
Unverified reports have said most of the company’s staff are retired police and national security officers, including CEO Sherif Khaled, a former senior official at the dissolved General Intelligence Services, according to the Anadolu news agency Oct. 12.
“What the regime fails to understand is that students’ revolutions are national movements and security opposition to them leads to extremism, and that student political movements are sources of democratic development,” DI said.
DI stated the past regimes of Abdul Nasser, Sadat, Mubarak and the Muslim Brotherhood have attempted to use political oppression through legislative restrictions, which are the “key to students’ intifadas.”
DI suggested negotiations between all relevant parties as the first solution to ending violent clashes between students and the regime. “Political arrests must stop and be replaced with education opportunities and initiatives to encourage students’ engagement in political and social decision-making.”
“The state can contain the situation to speed up the process of reconstruction and restore democracy instead of security solutions where everyone ends up losing,” DI concluded.
Rights’ lawyer Mounir Mokhtar had reported on his Facebook account Monday that several students who were arrested from their homes for accusations of inciting to protests before the first day of classes on Oct.11 were to be released on a bail of 1,000 EGP ($139.8) each, but forces detaining them refused to let them out after receiving additional reports by state security against the students.