Egypt university expels 23 students

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Associated Press

Posted on March 21, 2014 at 8:32 AM

Updated Friday, Mar 21 at 1:03 PM

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's largest university expelled two dozen students for allegedly taking part in violent protests on campus earlier this week, the state news agency reported Friday, as supporters of the ousted Islamist president held their traditional weekly rallies in Cairo and other cities around the country.

MENA quoted the Cairo University administration saying the 23 expelled students were involved in riots, sabotage and violence on campus during Islamist-led protests on Wednesday. Administrators also said students raised a black flag used by al-Qaida and other jihadist groups during the demonstrations.

Egypt has cracked down hard on demonstrators protesting the army's toppling of Mohammed Morsi last summer.

Last month, the interim president amended a law regulating student life to allow university heads to expel students accused of taking part in riots and hindering the educational process.

The law was amended after a tumultuous first semester during which student protesters clashed with police in a number of universities, particularly at the Cairo campus of the Islamic university of al-Azhar in December where end-of-term exams were disrupted. The crackdown has caused street protests to dwindle in size, but Islamist students continue to demonstrate in campuses across the country.

In the latest ruling against protesters, a Cairo court sentenced 17 al-Azhar students Thursday to 14 years in jail for rioting, damaging public properties and attacking security personnel, judicial sources said.

In protests Friday, security forces clashed with Muslim Brotherhood supporters in the cities of Cairo, Suez and Alexandria. A security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said Islamists set off fireworks in the direction of the police, who then replied with tear gas, chasing protesters in the side streets.

Earlier in the day, masked gunmen set fire to a garage with trucks carrying cooking gas cylinders in a town southwest of Cairo, Egyptian media said.

Attackers first tied the guard up outside the garage, poured gasoline on the trucks and then set them ablaze, private CBC television reported, leaving two people injured.

The motives for the attack on al-Barageel town were not immediately clear. Egyptians have been experiencing a shortage in cooking gas.

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