Update: 3 Azhar students to be detained for their role in campus clashes on Sunday

The Nasr City prosecution has ordered the detention of three Al-Azhar University students on Monday for their role in clashes on campus pursuant to demonstrations against security forces yesterday, the second day of classes.

The students face charges of rioting and inciting others to riot, belonging to a terrorist organization, illegal assembly, thuggery and vandalizing public property.

Clashes broke out at four Egyptian universities as students demonstrated against the on-campus presence of the private security firm Falcon. The security guards fled the altercation and allowed the police to intervene.

At A-Azhar University, students reportedly destroyed Falcon’s offices on the campus and broke the newly installed electronic gates.

On Sunday, the second day of school started exceptionally. Long queues of students formed in front of Falcon’s gates. News reports stated that Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated students attacked security personnel in several faculties, but there were widespread demonstrations against the strict policies implemented by new private security company Falcon and university guards.

At Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Students Against the Coup organized a march to demand the release of their arrested colleagues and the return to school of those who were expelled last year. The students also protested against the strict policies of the new security company and destroyed its office on campus. Later, police entered the campus, arrested five students and closed several streets in the vicinity.

At Ain Shams University, students protested the long queues at the gates and the new procedures implemented by Falcon, in collaboration with the university’s guards, who closed the doors to Zafarana castle in the middle of campus, as well as the faculties of science and computer science.  

At Cairo University, students organized a march that toured campus and chanted against Falcon and military rule, which they said has led to a state of chaos. Falcon security personnel fled the scene and five CSF and Special Forces tankers entered the campus to disperse the protest, arresting several students.

Students were also reportedly arrested yesterday from their houses in anticipation of activity on campuses. In a statement, the Freedom for the Brave student movement described the arrests as outrageous.

The spokesperson for Students against the Coup at Zagazig University, Ahmed Nassef, told Mada Masr that recent events indicate the state’s concern about a growing student movement, which, according to him did not stop throughout the last school year and expanded to several major squares off campus. “Our protests are peaceful, but self defense is a right guaranteed by the law,” added Nassef. 

The Ministry of Higher Education contracted Falcon Security to guard and secure 15 universities, according to the website of the private security company. Falcon Chief Executive Sherif Khaled informed Mada Masr that their one year renewable contract with the ministry authorizes the company to provide security services for a number of universities, including Cairo, Ain Shams, Helwan, Al-Azhar, Alexandria, Beni Suef, Zagazig, Mansoura, Assiut, Fayoum, Banha and Minya.

Khaled refused to disclose the amount of money agreed upon for Falcon’s services due to client confidentiality, but stated that the Head of Cairo University Gaber Nassar allocated LE50 million last year for security, adding that the company does not even get 10 percent of that amount for securing one campus.

The first members of Falcon security personnel appeared yesterday at campus gates, searching students and demanding their identification cards, which resulted in long queues.

Reports showed that clashes occurred between Falcon personnel and the university guards and police were called to resolve the situation. 

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