Ultras Ahlawy delay US state secretary's departure from Cairo

Ahram Online , Sunday 3 Mar 2013

Hardcore fans of Ahly football club block road to airport, delaying US Secretary of State John Kerry's departure by two hours; several airlines delay flights out of Cairo

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry waves goodbye as he leaves Cairo March 3, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)

US Secretary of State John Kerry's departure from Egypt was delayed by roughly two hours on Sunday evening after members of the Ultras Ahlawy – hardcore fans of Cairo football club Ahly – blocked the road leading to Cairo International Airport.

Kerry, who had been in Cairo for a two-day visit, finally departed the country at about 6pm. His flight had initially been scheduled for 4pm.

The action by the Ultras Ahlawy came within the context of the group's ongoing protests against Egypt's interior ministry and in advance of a contentious court ruling – scheduled for 9 March – in the trial of last year's Port Said stadium disaster, in which scores of Ahly fans were killed.

Protesters blocked the road to the airport with burning tyres, snarling traffic for nearly two hours. Several airlines delayed flights from Cairo on Sunday afternoon as a result of the move.

While in Egypt, Kerry met with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and head of Egyptian General Intelligence Refaat Shehata.

Before leaving Cairo, Kerry issued a statement urging Egyptians to brace for "hard work and compromises" with a view to "restoring stability and the Egyptian economy." 

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