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Presidential candidate slams MPs' reaction to football violence

Hamdeen Sabahi calls parliamentary reaction to Port Said football violence insufficient, demands immediate purge of interior ministry

Zeinab El Gundy, Thursday 2 Feb 2012

Would-be presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi blasted the performance of MPs at an emergency session of parliament on Thursday convened to discuss Wednesday evening's football violence in Port Said.

"We had expected a stronger reaction from MPs – one that reflected the mounting anger on the street," Sabahi said in a Thursday statement.

He went on to demand the immediate "purge" of the interior ministry of elements associated with the former regime, along with a radical restructuring of the ministry.

What happened on Wednesday in Port Said, he asserted, had been intended to punish the Ultras – hardcore football fans – for their "heroic role in Egypt's [January 25] revolution."

Sabahi went on to pay his respects to the victims of Wednesday's violence. He also visited the Ahly sports club on Thursday morning, where he offered his condolences for Ahly fans killed in the incident.

Violence erupted between rival fans on Wednesday evening after a match between the Masry and Ahly football clubs. At least 70 people were killed and hundreds injured in the melee, considered the most deadly incident in the history of Egyptian football.

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