An estimated 25 Port Said residents were arrested during a Monday protest against death sentences handed to 10 individuals accused of involvement in the 2012 Port Said massacre. The exact number of detainees has not been confirmed, according to lawyer Hany al-Gibaly, who said that they are currently being held in a police camp pending investigation.
Port Said based-journalist Mohamed al-Halawany estimated that 25 were arrested, all from the Zahraa district, where one of those sentenced to death used to live. He said that police arrived on the scene of the protest after residents set fire to car tires, objecting to the February 20 verdict.
Gibaly told Mada Masr that several minors are among the detainees, most of whom are below the age of 15. According to Child Law in Egypt minors should not be held in any detention facility.
The lawyer said that police are preparing investigation records before referring the detainees to the prosecution, which is expected to arrive at the detention facility to carry out the investigation.
“The arrests were extremely random,” he said, “especially after burning one of the police trucks, which led to very violent behavior by the police against the people. Many shop owners were forced to shut down their shops.”
He referred to a video published on Facebook which shows a police officer ordering other members of the task force to arrest all the young men in a building.
A wave of anger flooded the city following last week’s verdict, as the families of those convicted were prevented from protesting by police.
Residents and shop owners widely participated in a campaign to switch off the lights in city on Monday night, according to Halawany, in protest of the sentences. A number of photos were distributed on social media showing the city in dark.
A Criminal Court first sentenced 11 defendants to death and over 30 to jail time in June 2015, accused of killing over 70 fans of the Al-Ahly Club during a football match between Ahly and the Port Said-based Al-Masry Club in February 2012. The death sentences issued against 10 of the defendants by the Court of Cassation last week are final.
Several members of Parliament representing the Port Said governorate said that they plan to appeal to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, requesting he intervene and use his constitutional powers to issue a presidential pardon for those convicted.