Al-Ahly Sporting Club fans, Ultras Ahlawy, announced early on Wednesday that they are not gathering to mark the fifth anniversary of the 2012 Port Said Massacre that left about 72 people dead, as they claimed that they received threats from Interior Ministry.
The fan group issued a statement ,claiming that some of their members were subject to harassment, arrests, explicit threats, and home raids by security personnel in order not to commemorate the death of the football fans by any means. The statement further added that these threats included meeting the same fate of the deceased fans on the anniversary day.
“Five years have already passed, yet the families of martyrs are still waiting on anyone to unravel the truth about what happened in the stadium, the least we can do is to freely commemorate our friends and families’ death.
“We understand what the Interior Ministry is trying to do, it is an attempt to distort our image and portraying us as thugs and fabricating charges against our fan group members. The Interior Ministry decided to deploy its forces to prevent any clashes during the commemoration, even though the commemoration is held every year without any violence acts or vandalism,” reads the statement.
The Ultras concluded by announcing that they are not gathering and the commemoration, unlike the past four years, will not be held. Meanwhile, the presence of security forces in Al-Zamalek district is heavy to prevent any crowds despite the Ultras statement.
Prior to their statement, Ultras Ahlawy issued another one in which they confirmed that they will gather in the stadium of Al-Ahly sporting club. They refused the threats they received, adding that they shouldn’t file a protest permit because the first day of February marks a rather important event and the whereabouts of the gathering is known to everyone, because it is an annual ritual.
The massacre dates back to 2012, when during a football match between Al-Ahly and Al-Masry Sporting Clubs, the fans of the latter Sporting Club attacked Al-Ahly fans, with no intervention from the security personnel whatsoever.
President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi proclaimed on the fourth anniversary of the massacre that an investigative committee will be formed to reach conclusions on what happened, further calling on the fan group to nominate 10 of their members to be members in the committee. However, Ultras Ahlawy turned down the initiative of Al-Sisi, claiming that there are institutions that know exactly what happened on this day and have recordings and evidences. The fan group also demanded prompt interrogations with all security officials who were involved in the massacre day.
As a result of the tragedy and following five years, the matches of Egyptian league and matches between two rival clubs in Egypt are held without any fans in the stadium.
There are 73 defendants that are being tried in the case since April 2012, several verdicts were issued among them including death and prison sentences. The families of the defendants protested against the sentences and the General prosecution appealed the verdicts. The appeals court is set to issue its final verdict on the filed appeals on 20 February.