Riot police run toward students outside the al-Azhar University in Cairo on Sunday during a pro-Morsy demonstration.
PHOTO: KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images
Riot police run toward students outside the al-Azhar University in Cairo on Sunday during a pro-Morsy demonstration.

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Police break up protest at al-Azhar University with tear gas

Students had been chanting and throwing rocks, government says

Protests have wracked Egypt since the July coup that ousted Mohamed Morsy

(CNN) —  

Tear gas shrouded the streets outside the Sunni Muslim world’s most prestigious university after Egyptian police battled thousands of pro-Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators Sunday in Cairo, authorities reported.

There were no immediate reports of injuries from the protest, the latest in a wave of sometimes-deadly demonstrations since the summer coup that deposed Egypt’s first democratically elected president.

About 3,000 students from Cairo’s al-Azhar University, considered a top center of Islamic scholarship, blocked a road outside the institution, according to Egypt’s Interior Ministry. After about half an hour of attempts to persuade them to reopen the roadway, the protesters refused and began chanting anti-military slogans and throwing rocks, the ministry said on its Facebook page.

Police responded with tear gas, driving some protesters back onto the university grounds and arresting others.

Egypt’s military stepped in to remove President Mohamed Morsy in July amid protests that brought hundreds of thousands to the streets to demand his resignation. Morsy, who had won office barely a year earlier, and other Brotherhood leaders have been arrested, and a court banned the movement in September.

But the demonstrations have continued, with Morsy’s supporters demanding that the generals reinstate his government. Battles between police and protesters left more than 50 dead in early October, spurring the Obama administration to cut off significant military aid to a leading Arab ally.

Egypt’s military-backed interim president is reviewing a proposed law that would place strict limits on protests, state-run news outlets reported last week.

The legislation has drawn the ire of human rights groups and both pro- and anti-Morsy political movements. The April 6 Youth Movement, an influential political force deeply involved in Egypt’s 2011 revolution, called it “one of the worst repressive laws constraining freedoms in Third World countries and military dictatorships.”