Egypt allows fans back into stadiums for domestic games

Al-Ahly players celebrate during an Egyptian Premier League match in January, but the roar of fans has been absent since 2012. (AFP)
Updated 15 August 2018
0

Egypt allows fans back into stadiums for domestic games

  • Crowds banned from stadiums since 2012 Port Said riots killed dozens
  • Supporters complained the Egyptian Premier league had become dull

CAIRO: Egypt will allow crowds back into football matches more than six years after dozens of people were killed, during rioting, at a match in Port Said.

Up to 5,000 fans will be allowed to attend Egyptian Premier League games from Sept. 1, Sports Minister Ashraf Sobhi told local media.

The move to allow partial crowds back into domestic matches follows demands from many supporters, who said the sport had become dull without spectators.

The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) made similar announcements in the past but failed to get approval from the interior ministry.

The crowd ban originally came into effect following the Port Said tragedy in February 2012 - Egypt’s worst football disaster.

More than 70 Al-Ahly fans were killed when massive riots swept through the stadium.

The ban was briefly lifted in February 2015 but was immediately re-instated after more than 20 Zamalek supporters were killed in a stampede, after security forces fired tear gas, before a league game against Enppi at Cairo’s Army Defence Stadium.

Fans were still allowed to attend continental games for Egyptian clubs, as well as matches featuring the national team.


Released by court order, US professor vows to continue struggle with Palestinians

Updated 17 September 2018
0

Released by court order, US professor vows to continue struggle with Palestinians

  • Frank Romano was detained on Friday in the village of Khan Al-Ahmar as he stood in front of heavy equipment being used to clear barriers
  • The village of roughly 200 people in the Israeli-occupied West Bank is at risk of being demolished at any time, despite fierce criticism from key European nations

JERUSALEM: Israel has released an American law professor detained for allegedly trying to block Israeli troops in a West Bank village slated for demolition.

The 66-year-old Frank Romano was detained on Friday in the embattled village of Khan Al-Ahmar, along with two Palestinian activists. Pictures on social media show him being led from the scene by Israeli riot police.

Witnesses said that Romano stood in front of heavy equipment being used to clear barriers that had been set up to slow demolition. Activists said he began a hunger strike while in detention.

Gaby Lasky, Romano’s lawyer, said a court ordered his release late Sunday. She said he was freed early Monday after police decided not to appeal the decision.

Upon his release, Romano returned to the village and said: “I can continue the struggle with you.”

Israel is expected to demolish the village in the coming days.

Romano, who teaches law at the Paris Nanterre University, was released on the orders of the Jerusalem magistrates court. 

He said that police had earlier handed him to immigration officials for immediate deportation without a court hearing but he refused to sign a consent form.

“The judge called the immigration and said ‘bring him back’ and we had the hearing,” he said.

In the courtroom, the judge ordered his release, he said.

Supporters said he was allowed to stay in Israel until Sept. 25, the original date of his return flight.

He was ordered to lodge a surety of 1,000 shekels ($256, €240) and provide a guarantor for a separate 5,000 shekel bond, they said.

The village of roughly 200 people in the Israeli-occupied West Bank is at risk of being demolished at any time, despite fierce criticism from key European nations.

On Sept. 5, Israel’s supreme court upheld an order to raze it on grounds it was built without the proper permits.

It is extremely rare for Palestinians to be given Israeli permits to build in Area C of the West Bank, where Khan Al-Ahmar is situated.

The village is located in a strategic spot near Israeli settlements and along a road leading to the Dead Sea.

There have been warnings that continued settlement construction in the area could eventually divide the West Bank in two and cut it off from Jerusalem, dealing a death blow to any remaining hopes of a two-state solution.