Thousands of protesters angry over football deaths clash with police near Tahrir

Ahram Online, Thursday 2 Feb 2012

Protesters at ministry of interior blame SCAF, security forces for 71 deaths at Port Said football disaster; clashes break out at ministry of interior; protesters use stones; police use tear gas and rubber bullets

Ultras Ahlway clash with police in Mohamed Mahmoud Street  on 2 February 2012 (Photo: Mai Shaheen)

21:45 Big march entering Mansour Street heading towards Mohamed Mahmoud Street coming from Tahrir square. Protesters, around 500, are waving Ahly club flags and chanting against the government and the ruling military council using drums.

Thousands are demonstrating in Tahrir and hundreds continue to clash with CSF near ministry of interior.

21:22 Ambulances fail to gain access to Mohamed Mahmoud Street, the scene of ongoing skirmishes between anti-SCAF protesters and security forces.

Doctors at Tahrir Square field hospitals ask protesters to transport injured protesters outside the square so they can be transferred to hospitals for medical treatment.

21:15 The Ultras Ahlawy issued a statement on their official Facebook page denying that their members were on or near Cairo's flashpoint Mohamed Mahmoud Street, the scene of five days of clashes between anti-SCAF protesters and security forces in November.

The group stressed that its members were currently attending the funerals of those killed in Wednesday night's football violence in Port Said.

The group went on to assert, however, that the blood of its members would "not come without a price."

21:05  The Supreme guide of the Muslim brotherhood Mohamed Badie has addressed the Egyptian people through the Muslim brotherhood's TV channel "Misr25" where he accused the ministry of interior of "getting back" at the revolutionaries who are demanding the immediate restructuring of the ministry of interior. 

Badie demanded a quick trial for Mubarak as well the officials repsonisble for the clashes in Port Said Stadium. He also called all political powers for an urgent meeting to end this political crisis in Egypt.

21:00 According to tweets from Tahrir Square a pasta shop is still open in Mansour Street near MIO headquarters despite the clashes and tear gas in the street. Protesters take short breaks to buy pastas and eat before they go back to the battle field.

20:45 Ahmed Maher, founder of the April 6 Youth Movement, has asked anti-SCAF protesters arrayed in the streets near Egypt's interior ministry to return to Cairo's Tahrir Square with a view to preventing bloodshed.

According to eyewitnesses, hundreds of protesters have also converged on the nearby Mohamed Mahmoud and El-Felki streets – the scene of five days of clashes in November – while thousands have amassed in Tahrir Square.

20:30 Eye witnesses report that the protesters are still demolishing the wall built by army units in Mohamed Mahmoud street. On the other hand the ministry of health has issued a statement stating that 101 have been injured in the clashes, mostly from suffocation of tear gas.

20:15 The ministry of interior has issued a statement saying that a number of protesters are determined to reach the Ministry of itnerior, removing barricades as well as the wall that separates protesters and the ministry's HQ.

20:10 The families and friends of 5 martyrs from those killed in Port Said stadium clashes Wednesday have smashed the Imbaba court entrance in Cairo after the end of funerals of their loved ones to express their anger at what they see as police complicity in the death of 71 football fans.

20:05 According to the ministry of health there are currently 4 field hospitals set up in Tahrir square as well 35 ambulances to treat scores of the injured.

20:00 Ahram Online's reporter says that protesters are still demolishing the wall erected in Mohamed Mahmoud Street, which branches from Tahrir Square and leads towards the Ministry of Interior's headquarters. The wall was built by army units with huge cement blocks across the street after clashes between police and revolutionaries in November.

19:55 Adam Makary, Aljazeera International reporter now present in near the ministry of interior tweets: "@adamakary Protesters have set up barricades on fire. This blocks police from advancing, but more tear gas keeps coming."

19:45 According to eyewitnesses, several people have been injured on Bab Al-Louq Street in Cairo's downtown district, with ambulances and motorcycles ferrying the wounded to hospitals.

19:40 The nearby Qasr El-Dobra Church field hospital off Tahrir Square has re-opened its doors for the injured, while the Omar Makram Mosque field hospital – located adjacent to Tahrir Square – is reportedly requesting doctors and medical supplies with which to treat the wounded.

19:30 According to Ahram Online reporter lights are turned off in streets leading to ministry of interior.

19:25 According to eye witnesses, ambulance are distributing gas masks on choking protesters in Falaki street, east of ministry of interior.

19:20 Ahram Online reporter confirms that police are firing rubber bullets and tear gas at protesters on Mansour street.

19:15 Motorcycles, known in Egypt as "people's ambulances" are seen all around the area of clashes transferring people affected by the gas away from the scene of the clashes.

19:10 CSF forces has ceased launching tear gas at protesters; many protesters are suffering from suffocation at Mohamed Mahmoud street.

19:05 According to eye witnesses, two Central Security Forces (CSF) were injured during the clashes, while several protesters have been transferred by ambulances to hospitals.

19:00 Ambulances are ferrying several injured protesters from the scene.

18:55 Clashes erupted between protesters and police forces in Mansour Street near the Ministry of Interior, with the latter using tear gas against demonstrators.                     

18:45 Protesters have reportedly removed one of the huge cemented blocks situated arcoss Mohamed Mahmoud Street, which branches from Tahrir Square and leads towards the Ministry of Interior.


Thursday morning

Thousands of hardcore football supporters – known as Ultras – and various political movements marched in Cairo on Thursday to protest the conduct of Egypt's security forces during Wednesday's football disaster, which left 71 dead and hundreds injured at a match between Masry and Ahly in Port Said.

Ahly's Ultras Ahlawy gathered outside the Ahly Sporting Club in Zamalek from midday, where they were joined by Zamalek's Ultras White Knights – who arrived from Sphinx Square in Muhandiseen – and others from Tahrir Square. Together they marched to the interior ministry after altering their original plan to march on Parliament.

Many protesters wore black and wept with grief. "I have three children who are Ultras Ahly, and if any of them had died, I don’t know who I would have turned to," Mohamed Omran told Ahram Online in tears.

At the Sphinx march, some protesters blamed the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) for the disaster. "This is a conspiracy designed by the SCAF because the security forces opened the doors for Masry fans to attack Ahly fans," a protester told Ahram Online.

Others suggested the Ultras Ahlawy had paid the price for their revolutionary positions during January 25 Revolution. "They are paying the price for protecting protesters during the Battle of the Camel last year," Gehan Shaaban, a member of Popular Socialist Alliance Party, told Ahram Online. "Today marks the anniversary of the Battle of the Camel."

Meanwhile, some blamed the Masry supporters. "They posted a warning on their Facebook page last week that Ahly Ultras would be killed during the match," another protester told Ahram Online.

Some chanted against Port Said citizens on their way to join protests at Ahly Sporting Club, but others refused to lay the blame for the disaster on the Suez Canal city residents.

Meanwhile, large protests by local residents marched through the streets of Port Said on Thursday to condemn the attacks on Ahly Ultras.

16:00 (GMT) - 4pm (CLT)

The march led by football Ultras and political groups to protest the killing of 71 people at the Masry v Ahly match in Port Said on Wednesday reached vicinity of ministry of interior. Shortly after, some protesters pelted police guarding the interior ministry.

A number of MPs, including Amr Hamzawy and Ziad El-Eleimy, have joined the protesters in an effort to prevent an escalation in violence.

Many protesters on the original march remained in Tahrir Square, rather than continue to the interior ministry, due to fears that clashes between police and protesters could erupt at any moment, reports an Ahram Online journalist at the scene.

Barbed wire barriers initially separated protesters from the security forces, while some protesters have formed a human shield between the two sides and chanted "peaceful, peaceful."

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