The governor of Port Said has resigned and the district’s director of security and chief of its detective unit have both been suspended from their posts and detained by police, says state media. Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the head of the ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF), has declared three days of national mourning for those who died. The Parliament has also sent a fact-finding committee to Port Said.
According to the New York Times, the ultras believe that the Interior Ministry is seeking to retaliate against them for taking a “leading role in several violent battles with police” during the past three months. Fans from rival teams often fight each other though all have “a common culture of obscene chants, special firecrackers and instruments, and a violent hatred of the police who usually try to control them.” The ultras “played an especially pivotal role” in defending Tahrir Square against ousted leader Hosni Mubarak’s supporters in the so-called Battle of the Camels a year ago Thursday, as well as playing a leading role in attacking the Israeli Embassy after a demonstration last September.
The ultras have become “increasingly politicized,” going so far as to call for the death of Tantawi.
Rival teams, including Al Ahly and Zamalek, two of the most popular in Cairo, have joined forces in the recent clashes with police. On Thursday night, the protesters made their way to the barricaded building of the Ministry of the Interior. They pulled away barbed wire and threw stones at police, who responded with tear gas. One blogger said that activists sought to disperse the protests. The Al Ahly ultras have said that they were not responsible for the violence, as they were mourning those killed in Port Said.
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Photo taken February 3 by Gigi Ibrahim
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