Egyptian Students Step Up Protests Against Ground War

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AN Egyptian student has died following clashes between police and students protesting the war against Iraq's occupation of Kuwait. The student's death was expected in some quarters to trigger further unrest amid what appears to be growing public intolerance for the state's repression of anti-war feelings.

On Feb. 24, the first day of the ground war, hundreds of students at Cairo University demonstrated against their government's support for the coalition effort to oust Iraqi forces from Kuwait.

On Feb. 25, the mood was more tense and the number of protesters much larger. Students chanted slogans calling Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak ``a coward'' and an ``American agent.'' They demanded withdrawal of Egypt's coalition troops.

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When stone-throwing students tried to take the protest off campus grounds and onto the streets, riot police responded with tear gas and thrusts by armored trucks. The clash was reported to have continued more than six hours, leaving many injured.

Conflicting reports said the student died after being struck in the head either by a stone or tear gas canister. Monday's violence was seen by analysts as a further sign of a widening split between government hard-line supporters of the coalition, and public concern over the war's ramifications.

Since Iraq's occupation of Kuwait last August, Egypt's populace has been among the quietest of the Arab states. Dissent in Egypt has been low-key and focused on concerns that the Western-led coalition campaign would go beyond liberating Kuwait to the destruction of Iraq.

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