Egyptian authorities have tightened security in 12 leading universities across the country to quash any repeat of Islamist-led protests by supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi.
New security measures coinciding with the start of a new school term ban all partisan activities on campuses and university officials are allowed to expel disruptive students, according to Al Arab Online.
Students at Al-Azhar University refused to comment while some at Cairo University offered only brief remarks, reflecting tensions on the two campuses.
“Last year was a mess, with tear gas being fired inside the university. But now there are much fewer protests and it’s much safer,” said Noha Ezz al-Arab, a third-year English literature student in Cairo University.
About 16 students were killed in the academic year that ended in April as pro-Morsi students fought pitched battles with security forces after the Islamist leader was ousted in July 2013 by then-army chief and now President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
Today, the newly painted buildings of the prestigious Sunni Al-Azhar and Cairo University are surrounded by tall metal fences, with private security guards checking students’ identities as they pass through metal detectors.
Student leaders fear the new security measures could affect campus activism.
“We hope the new regulations will not limit freedoms and non-partisan political activities on campuses,” said Ahmed Khalaf, a member of the Cairo University Student Union.
Students also complained that the new regulations restrict their movement on campuses.
There has already been some minor unrest, the report said.
The interior ministry said five universities saw protests a day after the new school year started on Oct. 11, including at Al-Azhar and Cairo University, where protesters destroyed metal detectors.
At least 110 students were also arrested in their homes, many of them in pre-dawn raids last week, rights groups said.
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