1 February 2017

Egypt: 'Ultras Ahlawy' Cancel Memorial Event for Victims of Port Said Violence

Cairo — The Ahly SC fan group "Ultras Ahlawy" announced late Tuesday that it will not hold a memorial this year for over 70 fans killed in the deadly Port Said violence in 2012 after arrests and restrictions imposed by the interior ministry over the past days, according to its statement.

Feb. 1 marks the fifth anniversary of the deadly violence that broke out after a tense game between Cairo's Al Ahly and Port Said's local al-Masry football teams.

Member of Ultras Ahlawy have been keen on holding memorials of the violent incident over the past few years, demanding justice and calling on the authorities to investigate the incident and reveal the perpetrators.

In its statement on Facebook, Ultras Ahlawy stated that some of its members have been subjected to arrests, their houses stormed into and their kin arrested over the past few days.

Two days ago, the West Cairo Prosecution ordered the detention of five members of the Ultras Ahlawy fan group on charges of establishing and leading an illegal group among others. They have been transferred to the May 15 maximum security prison, according to the Ultras' statement.

Ultras Ahlawy insisted it will not be "driven" towards a "street war" that would "tarnishing the image of the group" in the process, leading to its announcement that its members will not be present "at any place... to hold the memorial."

In a previous statement late Monday, the group had declared that they would be present at one of Al Ahly club's stadiums to hold the memorial.

Hundreds staged a memorial last year in that same stadium. The group had intended to commemorate the anniversary of the Port Said violence at the same place this year where the memorial stands.

Security personnel and armoured vehicles lined the streets surrounding Al Ahly Club on Wednesday.

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