About 300 university students staged a rowdy protest in Cairo today, calling for the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, to step down and for further democratic reforms.
The protest, held on the grounds of the American University in Cairo, was the latest in a series of demonstrations aimed at increasing political freedoms in Egypt, the Arab world's largest country, which Mr Mubarak has ruled since 1981.
Truckloads of police cordoned off the university during the protest, which comes ahead of planned September presidential elections in which more than one candidate - other than the president - will be able to stand.
"Change for Change ... Not for Bush," said one student banner in reference to contentious Middle East reform calls by the US president, George Bush.
Another said: "No more extensions. No to succession," displaying opposition to Mr Mubarak continuing as president or handing power to his youngest son, Gamal.
"One of our main demands would be the immediate ... [end] of emergency laws, limitation of how many terms a president can be in office, and free elections observed by UN personnel," said Ahmed el-Droubi, one of the protest organisers.
Egyptians enjoyed a brief period of relatively free protest following Mr Mubarak's surprise February 26 call on the parliament, which his National Democratic party dominates, to amend the constitution to allow for open presidential elections.
But security officials have since cracked down, arresting members of Egypt's largest Islamic movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, and banning protests. Officials have been particularly angered by criticism of Mubarak and his family.
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