MIDDLE EASTPOLITICS

Pro-democracy protesters rally in support of Al-Azhar students

Egypt demonstrations MorsiSupporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi staged early morning rallies in three provinces Thursday in a show of support for student protesters at Egypt’s Al-Azhar University. Members of the pro-Morsi 7Elsob (“7am”) group demonstrated in the coastal city of Alexandria to show solidarity with Al-Azhar University students following days of clashes between the latter and security forces.

Recent days have seen violent clashes at Al-Azhar University’s Cairo campus between security forces and student demonstrators opposed to Morsi’s July 3 ouster at the hands of the army. Pro-democracy protesters called for the release of students detained by police during earlier demonstrations and for bringing those they described as Egypt’s “coup leaders” to justice.

They also waved banners bearing the images of 14 female Morsi supporters who received suspended one-year jail terms earlier this week for participating in a demonstration in Alexandria. An earlier court ruling had sentenced the 14 young women to 11 years in prison for “illegal assembly and belonging a banned group” – the latter charge being a reference to Morsi’s embattled Muslim Brotherhood group. The stiff jail terms were later commuted, however, following a local and international outcry.

Pro-democracy school students in the canal city of Suez also staged a rally on Thursday to protest alleged police assaults on female Al-Azhar students. Protesters also staged a rally and formed a human chain in the Nile Delta province of Sharqiya to protest what they described as “police violations” of Al-Azhar and Cairo universities. They also called for the release of detained students and demanded the reinstatement of Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president.

Source: Anadolu Agency

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