Egyptian police shot 30 people dead after protests erupted in the city of Port Said last weekend. Around 50 people had been killed across Egypt as Socialist Worker went to press.
The demonstrations began after 21 football fans, known as Ultras (see below), were found guilty of the murder last year of 74 rival Al-Ahly fans.
They were sentenced to death. But Ultras say the real culprits are the police.
Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Mursi declared a state of emergency and curfew in Port Said, Ismailia and Suez in response to the protests.
He also pushed for a new law to allow the military to arrest civilians. But protesters have defied him.
Thousands filled the streets in the three cities to flout the curfew on Monday of this week. They called for Mursi to go.
In Ismailia people organised football matches in front of the governate building to show their defiance.
Mostafa Fouly is an Ultra and a member of the Revolutionary Socialists group.
He told Socialist Worker, “The court judgment wasn’t the punishment of the real criminals. The court didn’t sentence the police officers who worked with criminals in
killing the Al-Ahly martyrs.
“The military council was responsible for planning the massacre in Port Said.”
The revolution forced out hated dictator Hosni Mubarak in 2011. But his legal system remains in place.
“The Egyptian judiciary still doesn’t sentence police officers, businessmen or the military to prison or execution,” Mostafa said.
“They only sacrifice poor and working class people.”
The court ruling came a day after mass demonstrations took place across Egypt to mark two years since the start of the revolution.
Revolutionary Socialist Hatem Tallima explained, “People chanted for the demands of the revolution, which have still not been met.
“The protests are very militant. In some areas they have targeted police stations and headquarters.”
Demonstrations converged in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Friday of last week. Bissan Kassab, a Revolutionary Socialist, marched from the Shubra district.
“We had about 2,000 people at the beginning,” she said, “but by the time we reached Tahrir Square it was 25-30,000.
“All along the route people were joining us. Marchers would spot their friends on their balconies and call them to come down.”
Many women marched, despite the fact that thugs have subjected several women to brutal sexual assaults to intimidate them.
“Women made up more than a third of the marchers,” Bissan said. “One slogan we heard a lot was, ‘Women’s voices aren’t shameful—women’s voices are a revolution’.
“It was an attack on those Islamists who say that women should be seen and not heard.”
Now the focus is on keeping up the momentum.
The Ultras have played an important part in the revolution and faced police repression in the run-up to it.
The massacre of 74 fans in February last year was an attempt by the state to target them and divide people.
But Revolutionary Socialist Haitham Mohamedain said this isn’t working.
“Sorry, your honour, we won’t forget our martyrs,” he said. “We will continue our revolution until its goals are met.
“And one day it will be your neck that is in the noose.”