Protests erupt in universities across Egypt

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A number of student protests erupted across Egypt on Sunday in response to Saturday’s court decision to drop criminal charges against ousted president Hosni Mubarak and his interior minister Habib Al-Adli for killing protesters in the 2011 uprising.

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered at Cairo University, waving pictures of Mubarak behind bars and demanding the “fall of the regime”.

Police stood at the gates to bar students that sought to take their demonstration into the streets and fired tear gas to disperse the protests. Security forces also closed the Cairo metro station of Gamal Abdel-Nasser in an attempt to prevent gatherings downtown.

In the Nile Delta province of Zagazig, Egypt’s police dispersed student protests at Zagazig University by firing tear gas, after clashes between students and university security. Eleven students were arrested for reportedly setting fire to a building.

Meanwhile, seven female students of Al-Azhar University’s branch in Zagazig were injured in clashes with the university’s security forces as they dispersed their protest. Three other female students were arrested.

Egypt’s security forces also dispersed another Al-Azhar female student protest in the Upper Egypt governorate of Assiut. They had begun their protests inside the Al-Azhar campus but took their march to a nearby square off campus while chanting slogans against the verdict.

Marches against Mubarak’s acquittal were also organised at universities in Fayoum and Alexandria.

On Saturday, an Egyptian court dropped its case against Mubarak over the killing of protesters in the 2011 uprising that ended his 30-year rule, citing the lack of legal grounds to bring a case.

The ruling sparked the anger of activists, the friends and family of those killed and supporters of the 25 January revolution, who see the verdict as the latest sign that rights won during the revolt are being eroded.

Following the verdict, thousands of protesters marched to Tahrir Square, which was cordoned off by security forces. Demonstrators then took to Abdel-Moneim Riad Square, a short distance from Tahrir.

Security forces eventually dispersed Saturday’s demonstrations with water cannons, tear gas and birdshot as more people flocked to the square.

However, two people were killed and at least 15 were injured and 85 arrested.