Police arrest 19 Ultras

Police arrested 19 members of the Ultras Ahlawy football fans group as they tried to block the road to the airport on Monday night to protest the detention of 25 Ultras following clashes on Sunday, the state-run Al-Ahram daily reported. 

On Monday, 25 members of Ultras Ahlawy were arrested and charged with attempted murder and vandalism after clashes with the police erupted at the Cairo International Airport on Sunday when they went to welcome the Ahly handball team who had just arrived from Morocco. In a statement, the Ministry of Interior said the fans lit fireworks and attempted to force their way through the airport.

Ultras Ahlawy issued a statement on Monday denying any wrongdoing and saying that they did not provoke the attack from the police, as all they were doing was waiting for the handball team outside the airport. Witnesses at the airport reported on Twitter seeing members of the Ultras heavily injured during the clashes. 

The Cairo Security Directorate referred the 19 members of Ultras Ahlawy to the prosecutor for interrogations after they blocked the road to the airport on Monday evening, Al-Ahram reported. 

The arrests caused anger among activists who have spoken against police brutality, particularly in their dealings with Ultras football fans. These groups, who have long clashed with the police, are known to have played an important role in the 2011 revolution as they stood in the frontline of protests against security forces. Some activists have gone as far as describing the Ultras’ arrests as the return of the security state and its heavy-handedness in dealing with dissident groups. 

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