Reem Abou Refaie
Students at the American University in Cairo stood together in the plaza on Thursday Feb. 2 to mourn the loss of approximately 70 Egyptians, including one AUC student, murdered in Port Said Stadium following the end of a chaotic football match.
Omar “Mogrem” Mohsen, an AUC student meant to graduate this month, was among the lives lost during the massacre. The event was organized by Salma Hegab, a journalism junior and blogger.
“About 79 people died and we could not just stand by and do nothing. The least we could do is honor their lives through prayer”, she explained.
The event began with students gathering in the plaza area to pray in honor of the deceased. Those who were not praying assembled in silence to share the grief. After the prayer service, attendees began chanting against the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF), believed to be behind the attacks at the stadium that day. Students marched from the plaza to HUSS, demanding the immediate transfer of power from the military junta to an elected civil authority, possibly the parliament. Students also stressed that they will avenge the victims that died during the past year. Hegab is certain of the political authority’s involvement in the Port Said football massacre.
Laila Abdel Salam, an economics senior present at the march, was carrying a sign with “Down with the SCAF” written on it. She said that this is not the first time she attends a rally against the military regime, but that this time it is different.
“I have taken this stand since the clashes in Mohammed Mahmoud St.” she said. However, Abdel Salam clarified by saying that this time is special, because it shows SCAF’s lack the competence required to lead such a critical period, and it is time for them to step down.
She also shed light on the crucial role of the parliament and the Muslim Brotherhood: “Port Said’s tragedy presents a test for the loyalty and authority of our recently elected parliament and they can either pass or fail.”
Various student movements across campus and throughout Egypt are planning to take action against the ruling military junta as the nation remembers the events of the past year.