Egypt detains football fan for raising Palestinian flag at Cairo match

Egypt detains football fan for raising Palestinian flag at Cairo match
2 min read
24 April, 2023
A football fan who flew the Palestinian flag during a football game in Cairo was taken away, a rights group confirmed.
Palestine saw widespread support during the FIFA World Cup last year in Qatar [Getty - photo for illustrative purposes]

A football fan in Egypt was detained this weekend after raising a Palestinian flag at a match in Cairo, lawyers and human rights activists have said.

The man attended a crunch CAF Champions League quarter-final game between Egypt's Al-Ahly and Morocco's Raja Casablanca on Saturday when he displayed the Palestinian flag.

Despite both countries normalising relations with Israel - Egypt in 1979 and Morocco in 2020 - Egyptians and Moroccans remain sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, including ultras from both football clubs.

"Egyptian security forces arrested a young man for raising the flag of Palestine, during the Al-Ahly and Morocco's Raja match at the Cairo International Stadium," on Saturday, the Egyptian Network for Human Rights group said, through the testimonies of a number of fans at the game.

The young man's fate is still unknown and the network could not confirm whether he was still being held.

Egyptians have been arrested before for raising the Palestinian flag in public places, with a football fan dragged out of a Cairo stadium during a match in 2019, the network said.

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Former and current regimes in Egypt have cracked down on people displaying strong political sentiments.

Arab football fans used the 2022 FIFA World Cup held in Qatar as an opportunity to showcase their support for the Palestinian cause, raising the Palestinian flag during games and boycotting Israeli reporters.

Morocco fans were praised for singing songs in support of Palestine and waving Palestinian flags in the stands.