Parliament holds interior minister responsible for Port Said massacre

A majority of People’s Assembly members agreed on Thursday to officially hold Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim responsible for the deaths and injuries resulting from clashes in Port Said Stadium after a football match between the Ahly and Masry teams. At least 71 people died and hundreds were wounded in the violence, which has been largely blamed on a series of security failures.

After MP Essam al-Erian of the Freedom and Justice Party submitted a request that was signed by 120 members, MPs voted in favor of charging the interior minister directly, rather than referring the matter to Parliament’s legislative committee.

During the emergency session, Erian accused Ibrahim of failing to maintain security, especially as he did not restructure the Interior Ministry, ensure that former regime figures had been dismissed or address the security vacuum. Instead, Erian said, Ibrahim just praised the Emergency Law, referring to the speech the interior minister gave to Parliament on Tuesday.  

Parliamentary Speaker Saad al-Katatny said a committee will examine Erian’s request, Ibrahim will be summoned for investigation, and another vote will be cast on the request before it is submitted to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).

According to parliamentary bylaws, the interior minister will be summoned before Parliament’s general committee, which consists of the People’s Assembly speaker, his deputies and the heads of the parliamentary committees, and a report will be submitted for discussion in a coming session.

If the request is approved after the report is examined by the Parliament and second vote is held, the charge is submitted to the president or his acting representative, which is the SCAF.

Katatny had proposed not to broadcast Thursday's heated session live, but his proposal was voted down by a majority of MPs. Thursday’s parliamentary session began with a moment of silence for the victims of yesterday’s violence. MPs then moved immediately to denouncing the ruling military council and calling for Ibrahim to be held responsible.  

Independent MP Amr Hamzawy said the military council has lost legitimacy because it has failed to protect the lives of Egyptians. He called for holding the military to account. He also called on Parliament to exercise its legislative authority and push the date of presidential elections forward.

MP Abdel Moneim al-Sawy requested Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri’s resignation. “Why did you not assume your responsibilities?” he asked. “There are many other honorable Egyptians who can do the job.”

Ganzouri announced Thursday that he accepted the resignation of Major General Ahmed Abdullah, the governor of Port Said. He also dismissed the security director and the chief investigator of Port Said, Major General Essam Samak and General Mostafa al-Razaz, respectively, and referred them for investigation.

Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm.

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