Thousands of Egyptians participated in several marches across Port Said on Sunday as part of a planned campaign of civil disobedience to demand ‘retribution’ for those responsible for the death of dozens of Port Said residents in clashes with police last month.
The campaign is being spearheaded by the Ultras Green Eagles, hardcore fans of Port Said's Masry football club.
Marchers converged on the provincial governor’s office in order to rally the support of government employees, some of whom reportedly responded to protesters’ calls.
Some marchers also made their way to other government-run institutions – including the local headquarters of Telecom Egypt and the city’s port authority – in an effort to ratchet up pressure on the government, Al-Ahram’s Arabic-language news website reported.
Sunday also saw hundreds of high school students and teachers – newly back to school following the mid-term break – taking part in a handful of marches to mourn slain student Ahmed Sami, who was killed during last month’s clashes.
Some political observers, however, question the campaign’s efficacy.
"I don't expect the move to gain any momentum given the lack of genuine coordination with various political forces, labour unions and economic institutions," labour activist and Port Said Doctors' Syndicate member Ragy Babers said.
"Calls [for civil disobedience] should have included other political and social demands rather than simply restricting them to demands for retribution for Port Said’s martyrs," he added.
In January, a court sentenced 21 Port Said residents to death for their involvement in last year’s Port Said stadium disaster, in which scores of rival football fans were killed. The verdict triggered violent riots across the canal city, which led to clashes with police in which at least 40 people were killed and 250 injured.
Many Port Said residents and Masry fans feel that they have been scapegoated by the state for the stadium disaster.
According to a statement issued by the Ultras Green Eagles last week, Sunday’s civil disobedience drive is intended to “realise justice for the martyrs of Port Said, hold police officers involved in the death of unarmed protesters accountable, formally include Port Said’s slain protesters among the ‘martyrs of Egypt’s revolution,’ and prevent the politicisation of the ongoing trial.”