Ahly Ultras protest in Tahrir to demand justice for Port Said victims

Zeinab El Gundy, Thursday 17 May 2012

Members of football fan club Ultras Ahlawy converge on Tahrir in the hundreds to demand justice for Port Said 'martyrs' and demand end of military rule

Ultras Ahlawy march through Cairo
Ultras Ahlawy march through the streets of Cairo in what is known as the 'ultras cortege' (picture taken from the group’s official site)

Hundreds of members of Egypt's football fan club Ultras Ahlawy staged protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square Thursday night to demand justice for the victims of February's Port Said Stadium disaster.

The Ultras Ahlawy had earlier planned a protest march from Ahly Club headquarters in the capital's Zamalek district to Egypt's Supreme Court in downtown Cairo to commemorate disaster victims and demand accountability for those found responsible.

In Tahrir Square, Ultras Ahlawy members chanted slogans against military rule and decried Egypt's interior minister for failing to bring the perpetrators of the Port Said violence to justice.

"Down with military rule," thousands of young men chanted. "Down with the interior ministry."

Despite the large numbers of demonstrators, traffic continued to flow uninterrupted through the flashpoint square.

On 1 February, clashes erupted between rival fans following a scheduled match between Egyptian football clubs Ahly and Masry at Port Said Stadium. The ensuing violence left 73 football fans dead and hundreds injured.  

The incident is currently being investigated by a Cairo court, in which 75 defendants – including Masry Club officials, police officials and members of the Masry Ultras – face murder charges.

Last week, Egypt's chief coroner Kamil Ihsan told the court that victims had died from suffocation as a result of stampede. Ihsan's testimony, however, contradicted statements by several eyewitnesses who say victims were killed by knife-wielding assailants.

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