Universities clamp down on MB students in run-up to campus elections

At Tanta University on Tuesday, more than seven thousand students affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood  opposition movement staged a protest on campus against a university decision to ban their colleagues from running in upcoming student elections.

Students accused the university administration of allowing security forces to interfere in elections, which are slated for 18 October. Protesters held banners calling for international oversight of student elections.

According to protesters, some 164 students that had filed candidacy applications last week were banned from participating in elections due to their political affiliations with known opposition movements.

Meanwhile, nearly 150 students from Helwan University 's coordination committee staged a silent protest on Tuesday morning outside the university's main gate for similar reasons. Students wore symbolic gags over their mouths and sat on the ground to protest a university decision to bar them from student elections.

And at Cairo University, brotherhood students announced their campaign program, warning university administrators that they "would not remain silent" if any of their candidates were banned from running.

At Ain Shams University, the 6 April protest movement held a demonstration against "the use of university funding on parties rather than on educating students." Brotherhood-affiliated students at the same university accused campus security of assaulting two students.

At the University of Banha, meanwhile, dozens of brotherhood-affiliated students at the Higher Institute of Technology staged a protest on Tuesday against a decision to ban 70 students from running in elections, including 25 brotherhood-affiliated students. Students chanted slogans condemning the decision and accused the university dean of trying to rig elections for the benefit of students affiliated with the ruling National Democratic Party.

They also issued a statement denouncing the "secrecy" imposed on student unions, which they said was aimed at excluding members of opposition movements.

University Vice President for Education and Student Affairs Ali Shams al-Din promised that elections would be "fair," noting that transparent glass boxes would be used to collect ballots. He also asserted that the nomination process was "open to all students," declaring that the list of candidates would be announced one day before elections on 17 October.

In a statement, the Cairo-based Haqi Center for Legal Freedoms of University Students called on Egypt's attorney general to open an immediate investigation into an alleged attack on two female Zagazig University students. According to the center, Sumaya Ashraf al-Saidi, a student at the Faculty of Islamic Studies at Al-Azhar University, was also beaten up by campus security, from which she had reportedly suffered a brain hemorrhage.

The center also noted that another female student had suffered a broken foot after security guards beat her and other female students.

Al-Saidi filed a complaint with the Zagazig Prosecution on Tuesday, accusing university security guards of assaulting her. In the complaint, she claimed that she had been beaten and pushed to the ground by security guards who then had prevented an ambulance from taking her to hospital.

According to al-Saidi's father, the complaint was lodged against university security head Omar Abdel Aal. He called on Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar Ahmed al-Tayeb to intervene to stop what he described as "a serious affront to Al-Azhar and its scholars."

At Zagazig University, brotherhood students accused security forces of kidnapping two students from a library near the university's medicine faculty and taking them to a Zagazig police department, raising the number of detained Zagazig University students to 14, according to students.

At Beni Sueif University, meanwhile, ten brotherhood students are being investigated for allegedly hanging posters on campus in support of the National Assembly for Change reform movement. University administrators also banned eight students from nominating themselves for student elections.

What's more, 17 brotherhood students at the University of Minufiyah's faculty of medicine were expelled for a one-month period after hanging pro-reform posters on the walls of the faculty. One expelled student, Omar Sabah, told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the students had been expelled to prevent them from filing candidacy applications for upcoming student elections. Sabah said the decision would affect expelled students' attendance and grades.

At the University of Mansoura on Tuesday, 53 out of the 80 students that filed candidacy applications were banned. In response, students announced the launch of a campaign aimed at drumming up support for the National Association for Change.

University of Alexandria officials, meanwhile, said they would announce the names of student candidates on 17 October. According to Vice President for Education and Student Affairs Rushdie Zahran, nearly 1233 students have filed applications, all of which were accepted.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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