Sunday, July 3, 2016

Rare students protest held in Tahrir Square Cairo, Egypt

Hundreds of Egyptian high school students staged a rare protest in Tahrir Square on June 27 but security forces moved in quickly to disperse them with tear gas, detaining several of them.

The student protest was over the cancellation of high school exams after someone leaked answers to some of the tests. The students allege that there is corruption and mismanagement in the Education Ministry. Some parents protested along with the students. The protest began at the Ministry with the students demanding that Education Minister Al-Hetali el-Sherbini resign. They later marched to Tahrir Square the site of the mass protests against Hosni Mubarak that led to his resignation in 2011.
Egypt outlawed unauthorized protests after former president Morsi was ousted in 2013. Security forces have kept a heavy presence in and around the area ever since, as President Abdel Sisi is determined to keep a lid on opposition. Mohammed Sadiq a graduating student planning to be an architect said the students were holding a peaceful march in Tahrir when the police began beating them. Some students were angered that some of them were detained. Sadiq said: "We came to protest about the exams — our final year is very important, But they attacked when we came to the square. The whole system needs to be changed, we deserve a better education than this one."
There was broken glass at the main approach to Tahrir and the central roundabout was ringed with more than a dozen troop carriers filled with security forces some of whom were heavily armed. The students returned to a subway station near the ministry where they started. The situation was calm but police remained out in force.
Twelve officials from the Education Ministry had been detained after answers to final nationwide exams for Arabic, religion and some other subjects were posted on Facebook by an anonymous user who claimed he wanted to show the corruption and inefficiency in the Ministry. Egypt's education system suffers from overcrowded classrooms, and teachers who are poorly trained. Students who can afford it rely on private tutors. Sarah Mohammed, one of the students, claimed that every year the exams are leaked so there is nothing new this year but she hoped the minister would resign and the system be reformed. Another student Amr Adel complained: "This is unfair. The student who didn't study will get higher grades than us. We were studying hard for 12 months... Why all this unfairness?"
In another sign of the continued repression of dissent in Egypt, Mozn Hassan, director of a group called Nazra for Feminist Studies, was barred from flying to Beirut for a women's rights conference. Passport control officials told her she was banned from traveling. She is involved in a case in which authorities accuse non-governmental organizations of receiving foreign funds with the aim of "sowing chaos."
Liliane Daoud, a Lebanese journalist who had a popular TV program which she canceled was arrested and deported. There have been many journalists arrested and jailed. The director of her program Amer Tamam said: "This is a campaign against respectable media and free journalism ... all we were doing was presenting a respectable show ... so we don't know what we are being punished for." The show covered controversial topics that rarely appear on the mainly pro-government media.

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