Security forces dispersed a number of Ahly Club football fans that gathered on Saturday in front of the club’s headquarters in Zamalek to attend the team’s training session.
Local media sources reported a number of unconfirmed arrests.
The ultras hardcore football fan group declared they would attend the team’s final training session before an important game with Zamalek this week, in a statement on Friday. However, head of the Ahly Club, Mahmoud Taher, said the training session was canceled.
“It never happened in the history of Ahly that such an important training session was canceled to prevent fans from attending,” the Ultras Ahlawy said in a statement following Taher’s decision.
A member of the ultras told Mada Masr that those who gathered on Saturday probably hadn’t received notice of the canceled training session. He added that reports of arrests have not yet been confirmed, and asserted news agencies inflated the numbers, with some claiming up to 50 fans were arrested.
A security source told the privately owned Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper that police forces have been stationed around the club since early Saturday morning, and that fans were dispersed without any arrests.
The dispersal comes just a few days after Ultras Ahlawy commemorated the fourth anniversary of the February 2012 Port Said stadium disaster, in which 72 football fans were killed during deadly clashes with Masry fans. Many accused security forces of orchestrating events as payback for the ultras’ active participation in the January 25, 2011 revolution.
During the commemoration, held at Moukhtar al-Tetsh stadium in Ahly Club’s headquarters in Zamalek, thousands of fans chanted against “military rule” and demanded the execution of former head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, who was leading the country at the time of the Port Said incident.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi invited the ultras to nominate representatives to join an investigative committee examining the events of Feb 2012, during a phone interview with Al-Qahera Al-Youm talk show, aired on the privately owned Orbit channel.
The president also addressed the youth of Egypt more generally, admitting he has a long way to go in consulting with “angry young people.”
Thousands of Masry fans and Port Said parliamentarians protested on Friday against Sisi’s comments.
Spokesperson for the Masry Ultras, Amr Samy, told Mada Masr on Friday that he rejected the idea of Ultras Ahlawy being given special status in the official investigation. “They don’t have the right to take part, they’re rivals in the case. If 10 Ultras Ahlawy are on the committee, then 10 of us should also be included.”