Saudi authorities have ordered a probe after more than 50 women students were hurt when security forces dispersed a campus protest this week, media and a local official said on Friday.
On Wednesday members of the religious police and law enforcement officers used water cannons to break up a sit-in by women students at the Abha University in the south of Saudi Arabia, the Sebaq news website reported.
The students had staged a sit-in to protest against what they said was a pile-up or rubbish on the campus and a break down in hygienic conditions, Sebaq said.
The religious police, in a statement carried by the Al-Watan newspaper, confirmed that it had intervened at the university but denied that its men had attacked the women.
The university meanwhile issued a statement saying it had asked police to intervene on Wednesday after "female students gathered on the campus and began shouting in a way that contradicts" campus regulations.
It also accused one of the students' parents of having triggered the problem by sacking a refuse collectors, which caused the rubbish to pile up.
The sexes are strictly segregated outside the home in ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia.
Prince Faisal bin Khaled, emir of the Assir region where Abha University is located, has ordered an investigation into the incident, media reported.
(Saudi students attend an exhibition on higher education in 2011. Saudi authorities have ordered a probe after more than 50 women students were hurt when security forces dispersed a campus protest this week, media and a local official said on Friday. AFP Photo/Fayez Nureldine)