Amnesty Int’l: Police ‘abusive’ in response to Alexandria University protests
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CAIRO: Amnesty International Friday said police forces used excessive force to crack down on student demonstrations at Alexandria University this week at the beginning of the new academic year, according to a report released by the human rights group.

It said at least 35 students were injured, and three are in a critical condition. About 150 students were arrested during the clashes and two security officers were injured, according to official figures.

The report depended on a number of student testimonials, and said police forces already have a record of using “arbitrary” and “abusive” force against protesters, including students.

Amnesty said the students were protesting against new measures taken by the Higher Education Ministry contracting with Falcon private security to provide security on 15 universities, and against the “unjust” trials of political activists.

It added that about 500 students started peaceful demonstrations on Oct. 14, and that they did not become violent until a security crackdown. Amnesty said police randomly used tear gas and firearms against students.

These demonstrations, however, were not the only ones. Cairo and Al-Azhar Universities were also the site of protests during the first week of the new academic year.

Following the first day of the academic year on Oct. 11, many demonstrations broke out at universities despite high security measures. Large numbers of electronic gates were destroyed by protesters, and following the retreat of some security guards, students bragged online about seizing some of their equipment.

Earlier, the pro-Muslim Brotherhood National Alliance to Support Legitimacy called on students to conduct demonstrations, burn photos of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and raise those of ousted former President Mohamed Morsi instead.

Also, last Thursday the pro-Muslim Brotherhood group “Revolution’s Board of Trustees” called on university students to “besiege and trap” university presidents and faculty members who support the use of private security officers on university campuses.

Repeatedly, the Higher Education Ministry has warned there will be no political activities inside universities.

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