Egyptians March to Protest “The Massacre of Port Said”

News article, posted 02.05.2012, from Egypt, in:
Ebtisam Ta’lab and Safaa’ Srour
Egyptians March to Protest “The Massacre of Port Said”

Thousands of Egyptians participated in two major marches from Tahrir Square to the Ministry of Interior to protest “the massacre of Port Said,” in which 74 people were killed and more than 313 injured following a soccer game between the al-Masry and al-Ahli teams. Immediately after the game ended, the supporters of al-Masry attacked the supporters of al-Ahli causing deaths and injuries among al-Ahli supporters.   

Political and religious authorities in Egypt responded with anger and condemnation. Sheikh of al-Azhar Ahmed al-Tayeb issued a statement condemning the event and asking the authorities to hold accountable those responsible for the violence in Port Said, and to enforce the law so that these kinds of events never happen. These events, al-Tayeb said, are a result of new habits and attitudes that are “costing us our lives and our morals.”  

The Salafi Call (al-Da’wa al-Salafiya) said that the events in Port Said are an attempt by the enemies of the nation to prevent the building of a modern Egypt. A statement issued by the group asserted, “It is not reasonable to set the individuals who committed these crimes free since the cameras captured their faces.” They also stated that the behavior of the security services during these violent events was not acceptable, as they are the ones responsible for public safety.

The Muslim Brotherhood issued a statement condemning the violence and blaming the police and the army for not acting quickly enough to prevent the killings and injuries. The Brotherhood stated, “There was a hidden motive behind the massacre, which could have no justification. The failure of the police to protect the citizens cannot be dismissed as neglect.” Dr. Mahmoud Hussein, Secretary General of the Muslims Brotherhood said, “What happened in the football match was nothing less than a massacre for which the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) and the Ministry of Interior bear the ultimate responsibility.”  Dr. Hussein said that the lack of security across the country is bringing chaos and disorder to Egypt.

Mohammad Hussain Tantawi, head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) in Egypt, said that security in these types of events must be the responsibility of the Ministry of Interior. Tantawi said, “Our responsibility right now is to implement a roadmap to transfer the power to an elected civilian government. So far we have succeeded in organizing the Shura Council and the Parliamentary elections.” Tantawi added that the people and the security forces must work together to identify the criminals.