Ultras Ahlawy march to High Court to demand release of 25 detainees

Ahram Online, Wednesday 6 Nov 2013

Hundreds of Al-Ahly fans marched Wednesday from the club to the High Court in downtown Cairo to demand the release of 25 Ultras Ahlawi detainees

Ultras Ahlawy
Ultras Ahlawy during their march from the Ahly club to the High Court, Wednesday, November 6, 2013 (Photo by Mai Shaheen)

Hundreds of Al-Ahly fans marched Wednesday from the club to the High Court in downtown Cairo to demand the release of 25 Ultras Ahlawi detainees.

The march, which finished in front of the court, was in support of detained comrades on charges of storming the airport terminal and assaulting security personnel.

On 13 October, clashes erupted between security and members of Ultras Ahlawy at Cairo International Airport, when fans went to receive the Ahly Club's handball team upon its return from Tunisia, after losing in the African Cup final.

According to an airport security official, eleven police personnel and two workers were injured in the violence. Security forces dispersed the crowd with teargas and chased the Ultras from the airport to the outskirts of the nearby Nasr City district.

In their protest Wednesday, the group chanted against the security, "you dressed in the wasp, eagle sign and the cap (referring to police uniform), why do you love to detain young people?" and, "we are here for a case, you are here for a promotion."

On 26 October, the detainees were slammed with 15 days detention by the prosecution pending investigations.

Thousands of Ultras held demonstrations in October calling for the release of detained members, to no avail.

Ultras played a leading role in the January 25 uprising that toppled longtime autocratic leader Hosni Mubarak in 2011 and have been known since then for their political activism. They have frequently clashed with police during demonstrations and football matches, with many members arrested, injured and killed over the last two-and-a-half years.

The ongoing grudge in the relationship between the Ultras and security forces increased significantly after the Port Said football violence in February 2012, which left 74 dead. Fans hold authorities responsible for the incident. 

The fans, predominantly men in their teens and twenties, were dressed in the red t-shirts of their Al-Ahly club and held banners that read, "freedom for Ultras," and, "Ultras are not criminals."

They waved flags bearing their logo and the names of some of their detained fellows, chanting, "prison was never a shame," "release the detained," amid the sound of drums.

One of the protesters, who refused to give his name in keeping with Ultras media policy, said their colleagues might get another 15 days detention pending investigation.

On its official Facebook page, the group said 150 members were originally arrested; 25 of them are still being held, while the rest were released.

"Releasing some of them and detaining the rest is just random," the Ultras member asserted.

Prominent labour lawyer Khaled Ali announced on Tuesday that he will be defending the detainees.

“What is happening with Ultras Ahlawi is a settling of scores. The incident at the airport has been fabricated; they are the abused not the abuser,” said the former presidential candidate via Twitter.

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