Update: Ultras march to Alexandria stadium, sit in outside players' hotel

Update: Ultras march to Alexandria stadium, sit in outside players' hotel

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Sun, 09/09/2012 - 17:45

About 300 people marched Sunday to the Borg al-Arab stadium in Alexandria to protest a game scheduled there later in the day between Ahly and ENPI.

By late afternoon, the Ultras Ahlawy had reached the hotel in Alexandria where players are staying and say that police and security inside the hotel outnumber them. The group has decided to camp in front of the hotel until the match kicks off.

The ultras chanted, sometimes rhyming in Arabic: "Oppression is everywhere, we won't forget when we were slaves of the regime," "The Interior Ministry is made up of thugs" and "Fuck football."

Plans to hold the game, which is part of the Super Cup, have stirred tensions after all football activities in Egypt were halted following the killings of 74 Ahly fans at a game in the coastal city of Port Said in February. Ahly fans and their supporters deem it unacceptable that football activity is resumed before the prosecution of the perpetrators of the massacre, which is pending a court case.

Earlier today, the official Ahly fans group, Ultras Ahlawy, issued a statement accusing the Interior Ministry of instigating the local community of Borg al-Arab against them ahead of the game, in response to their plan to storm the stadium to stop the match. As a result, the group decided to cancel its planned gathering.

However, informal gatherings of Ahly fans still grouped and started heading to the stadium, chanting, “No Super,” in reference to the football match.

On the way to the stadium, seven police trucks filled with policemen drove by the march giving the finger to the protesters, who replied with similar gestures.

With ongoing tensions, and following an earlier break-in by Ultras Ahlawy members into the Egyptian Football Association office in Cairo to protest the plan to resume the season on 17 September, Sports Minister Al-Emary Farouq announced on Saturday that the season would be delayed until 17 October.

Tensions between ultras and the police have been commonplace in recent years, predating the revolution.