CAIRO –According to al-Mahi, Monday's violence constituted "another crime committed by the coup forces with the cooperation of the grand imam of Al-Azhar [Ahmed al-Tayeb]."The Azhar University student union on Tuesday said that a crackdown on ongoing protests by pro-democracy students – both on and off campus – would not force a halt to the demonstrations.
The Azhar University student union on Tuesday said that a crackdown on ongoing protests by pro-democracy students – both on and off campus – would not force a halt to the demonstrations.
“The use of violence by security forces against us on campus will only make us more determined to continue our peaceful protests,” student union spokesman Abdullah al-Mahi told Anadolu Agency.
On Monday, clashes broke out between police and student protesters when the latter poured out of the Al-Azhar University campus and set out for Cairo’s nearby Rabaa al-Adawiya Square.
The iconic square had been the site of a major sit-in protest by supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi before being violently dispersed by security forces on August 14. Hundreds of pro-Morsi demonstrators were killed in the dispersal.
According to al-Mahi, Monday’s violence constituted “another crime committed by the coup forces with the cooperation of the grand imam of Al-Azhar [Ahmed al-Tayeb].”
Pro-democracy demonstrators describe Morsi’s July 3 ouster by the army as an unconstitutional “military coup” and are critical of the religious leaders who sanctioned the move, including al-Tayeb and Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II.
“Azhar University students will continue their peaceful uprising until Al-Azhar is purged,” he said.
The “Students against the Coup” movement, which demands Morsi’s reinstatement, accused security forces of using teargas and shotguns loaded with birdshot during Monday’s clashes inside the university campus in eastern Cairo.
According to movement spokesmen, at least eight students sustained birdshot injuries while ten others suffered teargas inhalation during clashes with police.
A security source said at least 17 Al-Azhar students had been arrested for blocking roads and “attacking security forces” during Monday’s disturbances.
The student protests come one week before the beginning of Morsi’s scheduled trial. The ousted president faces charges – which supporters insist are politically motivated – of inciting the killing of demonstrators outside the presidential palace last December.