Nile University students protest downtown

Dozens of Nile University students staged a protest at the Journalists Syndicate in downtown Cairo Saturday demanding the return of their facilities currently being used by Zewail City of Science and Technology.

The protesters raised banners accusing Nobel Laureate Ahmed Zewail of serving “Israeli and American interests.” Some of the students’ parents were also present at the protest.

Mostafa Shamaa, one of the protesting students, told Al-Masry Al-Youm, “The government failed to offer solution [to the conflict], then it went to arrest us in an illicit way.” He added that students will continue protesting until they get back their campus.

Minister of Higher Education Mostafa al-Sayed Mossad said Tuesday that a proposed solution to the conflict between Nile University and Zewail City of Science and Technology includes granting the university new buildings.

A committee including members of the ministries of Higher Education, Housing and Urban Development and Justice has suggested giving the university new facilities instead. The proposed buildings in 6th of October City have all the utilities that a scientific institution would need, Mossad said.

However Shamaa said the proposed buildings is not appropriate even for a high school. “How would it be a place for scientific research?” he asked.

Since late August, Nile University students have been protesting the public prosecutor’s decision to hand the campus over to Nobel Laureate Ahmed Zewail. The demonstrators claimed that the Nile University administration had paid LE62 million for the right to use the campus for 99 years, and demanded that their campus remain in Zewail City and that they be allowed to use its laboratories and facilities.

Security officers forcibly broke up a sit-in on Monday held by Nile University students at the Zewail City of Science and Technology campus, arresting five of the demonstrators.

On Tuesday morning, the students returned to their sit-in outside the campus. Mariam Ibrahim, one of the protesting students, told Al-Masry Al-Youm that they wouldn’t end their demonstration until their facilities and buildings are returned to the university.

Edited translation form Al-Masry Al-Youm

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