More than 2,500 students, mostly followers of the Muslim Brotherhood, demonstrated Sunday at two universities in Egypt, the latest in months of protests against the government's campaign to try 40 of the group's leaders and financiers in front of a military court on charges of money laundering and terrorism.
At least 2,000 students marched inside the campus of Cairo's Ain Shams University chanting anti-government slogans and condemning the trial.
"Time will be our witness over the state's unfairness to the Brotherhoods," the rallied students chanted.
The trial began in late April under heavy secrecy, one of the largest such tribunals in years and part of a longstanding crackdown against Egypt's most powerful opposition political movement.
Over a year ago, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak ordered the 40 Brotherhood members, 33 of whom have been in custody since December 2006, to be put on trial before a military court on charges of money laundering and terrorism. An Administrative Court later decided in a rare ruling that Mubarak's order was illegal, but the state appealed that decision and within days the trial resumed.
The next session of the trial will be held on Tuesday, and a verdict is expected.
South of the capital, over 500 students held a rally inside al-Azhar University in Assiut. The protesters also shouted slogans criticizing the government for politicizing the Brotherhood trial.
Riot police cordoned off the protesters keeping them inside the two universities' campuses, preventing them from taking to the streets.
Both of the two protests were organized by the Brotherhood, which is banned since 1954, but is still Egypt's largest opposition force. Its candidates run in elections as independents and hold the largest bloc of seats after the ruling party.
Egypt has long been criticized by international rights groups for trying civilians before military courts, which issue swift and harsh verdicts with no possibility of appeal and nearly always produce convictions.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 25 Şubat 2008, 11:29