Fans protest decision to try Port Said violence suspects in Cairo

Hardcore fans of Port Said's Masry football team blocked the roads leading to the governorate building Tuesday to protest the justice minister's decision to try suspects of February's football violence in a Cairo court.

The defendants face charges of involvement in the violence that followed a football game on 1 February between Masry and Egypt's leading team, Ahly. Masry fans stormed the pitch, leaving 74 dead. Many have blamed the deaths on the failure of security forces present.

The trial was initially going to be held at a cultural center in Ismailia, but authorities on Thursday retracted the plan after a protest by workers and artists.

On Monday, Justice Minister Adel Abdel Hamid transferred the trial to the Police Academy in Cairo, which had hosted the trial of toppled President Hosni Mubarak, his two sons and former security officials over charges of murder and corruption.

The Port Said trial is slated to begin on 17 April.

The current protests by Masry fans have brought activities at the governorate building to a total halt, forcing several employees to return home.

Some Port Said residents have decried the insufficient security presence in the area, saying it has led to the spread of chaos and thuggery.

Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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