Cairo — The police shooting of an engineering student at Cairo University has sparked demonstrations and strikes on campuses across the country, galvanising opposition to the interim government but also raising fears among some students that their protests will be "hijacked" by supporters of former President Mohamed Morsi.
Mohamed Reda, 19, was killed on Thursday afternoon after police violently dispersed a protest in front of the university. Human rights activists who have seen the initial coroner's report said that it confirms Reda was shot three times before his death.
In response, students from several departments went on strike this weekend, hanging a sign on campus declaring Cairo University "closed". They held an angry rally on Sunday, at one point setting fire to a police car outside the campus.
"This will continue until the resignations of the interior minister and the minister of higher education," said Hisham Ashraf, the president of the university's student union. "[Reda's] whole college is angry about this."
Police have denied using lethal force: Hany Abdel Latif, a spokesman for the interior ministry, said that officers only fired tear gas at demonstrators.
The ministry's denials, contradicted by the coroner's report and eyewitness testimony, have further enraged students, and even prompted an angry reaction from university officials. In an interview with the private television channel Al-Nahar on Saturday night, Gaber Gad Nasser, the president of Cairo University, demanded a full investigation into Reda's killing.
"Security forces used excessive force against the university students," he said. "We do not accept the interior ministry's statement that it did not use firearms."