Fans of Egypt's Al Ahly arrested for protesting Israel's war on Gaza

Fans of Egypt's Al Ahly arrested for protesting Israel's war on Gaza
Over 200 fans of Al Ahly were arrested by security forces for chanting slogans against Israel's war on Gaza and raising the Palestinian flag.
2 min read
16 June, 2024
Al Ahly fans have a long history of supporting the Palestinian cause [Getty]

Over 200 supporters of Egyptian football club Al Ahly were released on Saturday night after being arrested by security forces for chanting slogans against Israel’s war on Gaza and raising the Palestinian flag in Alexandria’s Army Stadium.

The Egyptian Network for Human Rights (ENHR) reported that the fans clashed with security forces during Friday’s 2-1 win over Pharco FC.

The fans were chanting pro-Palestine slogans, which caught the attention of security forces. After the fans began flying the Palestinian flag, the security forces began violently confronting them, prompting them to leave the stadium.

However, the security forces followed them, leading to further clashes during which over 200 were arrested and taken to the local National Security Agency headquarters in the Murgham area, the Amreya police station and the Alexandria Security Forces camp for investigation.

On Saturday, the Ahly fans were then released at different times after being threatened with re-arrest and prosecution if they repeated the chants and activities in the future, the ENHR reported.

The ENHR says that more than 100 Egyptians have been detained for months on political charges due to their support for Gaza and for publicly displaying their opposition to the ongoing Israeli war against the enclave.

The network reiterated in a statement its “condemnation of all violations and arrests by Egyptian authorities against citizens, most of whom are young people opposing the massacres occurring against the Palestinian people.”

It called for the immediate release of all detainees, arrestees, and those held in pre-trial detention for their support of Palestine.

Analysis
Live Story

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s regime has been quick to crack down on any protest in solidarity with Gaza, fearing that such protests could escalate and lead to wider protests regarding domestic grievances.

On 1 May, six Egyptians who raised a flag in support of Palestine were detained in Alexandria. On 23 April, 16 Egyptians were arrested for participating in a feminist solidarity act for Sudan and Gaza outside the UN Women's offices in Cairo. Weeks earlier, meanwhile, 10 activists were arrested following peaceful pro-Palestine demonstrations outside the Cairo Journalists Syndicate.

Since Sisi seized power in 2013, his regime has put over 60,000 political activists and human rights defenders behind bars, many without trial. Tens of thousands more have been subject to travel bans, arbitrary arrests or forced into exile.