- Middle East/North Africa
The Shura Council National Security Committee is summoning the interior minister Thursday to report actions taken regarding the events in Port Said, Ismailia and Suez, according to state news agency MENA.
The committee will also summon the information minister to report official channels’ coverage of events during the period of 23–30 January. It also decided to dispatch a delegation to inspect the situation in the three cities.
At least 53 people have died so far nationwide in violent clashes, with most of them taking place in Port Said, where protesters have rallied against a court verdict that recommended death sentences for 21 defendants in the trial over last year’s football stadium disaster.
Dozens of Port Said youth and Masry football team fans broke into the meeting hall at the governorate office building Wednesday to protest ahead of a meeting among officials to decide whether to lift or reduce the state of emergency.
The meeting was scheduled to take place between Major General Ahmed Abdallah, governor of Port Said, and political groups and other leaders. President Mohamed Morsy had called for imposing a state of emergency and curfew Monday, but later decided to allow governorates to decide whether and how to implement the measures.
Protesters said they don’t recognize Abdallah as governor and reject dialogue with any representatives for officials in office before Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim is brought to trial, accusing him of responsibility for killing dozens of Port Said residents.
Abdallah went to his office, which is next to the meeting hall, without responding to protesters. Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters rallied at the governorate office building to prevent access for anyone planning to hold consultations with the governor.
Those scheduled to attend the meeting included Safwat Abdel Hamid, head of the Port Said Lawyers Syndicate; Youssef Sharba, a traders coalition representative; Reda Nour Eddin, Wafd Party representative; and heads of revolution youth coalitions.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm