Helwan University students protest arrest of classmate

Dozens of Helwan University students marched to the High Court Tuesday evening, demanding that an arrest warrant issued against a fellow student be rescinded.

University senior Mahmoud Safwat was arrested Saturday on accusations that he joined the protest group known as the Black Bloc, according to local media reports.

Security was heightened around the court and the protest blocked traffic in the area.

Safwat's reported detention comes after prosecutors issued arrest warrants last week for 22 suspects who allegedly belong to the Black Bloc group, which emerged during Egypt's revolutionary protests but whose motives are still largely unclear. Participants wear black and cover their faces, allegedly favoring violent tactics in response to state violence.

The suspects are accused of a litany of charges including forming a group intending to commit robbery, terrorism, violence, theft, murder, armed robbery and damage to public and private property. The Public Prosecution has also ordered a travel ban against the suspects.

Earlier on Tuesday, students from the university's Faculty of Commerce formed a human chain on campus to protest the arrest. They muzzled their mouths as a symbol of the government's silencing of opposition voices, one participant said.

The demonstration took place in the hall where former presidential candidate and Strong Egypt Party head Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh was scheduled to hold a seminar. The protest prompted university administration to cancel the event.

They held banners that read: "Down with the supreme guide rule," referring to the Muslim Brotherhood, and chanted: "Freedom, freedom, this is the case."

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