A group of 28 political parties and movements have called for a mass rally Friday at the Egyptian parliament, to demand MPs take definitive measures following the death of over 70 football fans in major riots that erupted Wednesday night in the city of Port Said.
As thousands of protesters marched Thursday afternoon for the same purpose, the group released a joint statement calling for another march on the parliament from the headquarters of El-Ahly Sports Club in the district of Gezira at 1pm. The statement, entitled "The blood of the revolutionary Ultras martyrs revives the revolution," holds the ruling military council and the current government led by Kamal El-Ganzouri fully responsible for the deadly clashes.
The statement further calls on the newly elected People's Assembly to assume political responsibility and undertake measures to counter "the recent deliberate and systematic acts of killing and instigating chaos for the aim of sabotaging and aborting the revolution," reiterating that the military council should hand over power to a civilian authority immediately.
The groups directly accused security forces of purposely facilitating the riots by not mobilising, not separating the sides, and not searching fans at the stadium gates, to prevent armed thugs from entering and infiltrating the stadium.
Furthermore, the statement cited recent incidents of armed robberies occurring in establishments normally under heavy security, such as banks, as part of a deliberate plot by the country's rulers aimed at spreading fear and insecurity among the public and falsely holding protesters responsible, in order to reverse public support for the revolution.
The groups also condemned the response of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose party dominates the People's Assembly, on the clashes, where the Brotherhood linked Wednesday's riots to clashes that took place between Muslim Brotherhood supporters and protesters in front of the People's Assembly earlier this week.
The statement described the Brotherhood's stance as another indicator that the Islamist group is gradually demonstrating "direct enmity" against the revolution's youth protesters.
Signatories to the statements include the April 6 Youth Movement (Democratic Front), the People's Committees for the Defence of the Revolution, the Revolution Youth Coalition, the Union of Revolution Youth, the Coalition of Revolutionary Forces, Coptic activism group the Union of Maspero Youth, the Egyptians for Azhar Reform Movement, the Maspero State Television Revolutionaries, the Youth Movement for justice and Freedom, the National Front for Justice and Democracy, the Free Front for Peaceful Change, the Revolutionary Socialists, the Egyptian Current Party, and the socialist Popular Alliance Party.
Wednesday's Port Said riots have been dubbed one of the worst football riots in history. The People's Assembly held an emergency session Thursday in the presence of Prime Minister Ganzouri to tackle the aftermath of the riots. The military council announced a three-day period of national mourning starting Thursday. Many football teams and associations around the world sent their condolences over the events.