A football fan was arrested for flying the Palestinian flag during a match in the Cairo International Stadium on Tuesday.
Tackled by plainclothes security officers in the middle of the match between the Egyptian Olympic team the Pharaohs and South Africa, the arrest and confiscation of the flag caused outrage.
In one tweet, Ahmed Elbaqry, a former vice president of the Egyptian students union, wrote: “A youth who raised the Palestinian flag in the Cairo stadium in support of Palestinian people against the occupation was arrested, in another shameful act by this regime which kneels to the will of the Zionist entity.”
اعتقال شاب رفع علم #فلسطين في مدرجات استاد القاهرة اليوم تضامنا مع الشعب الفلسطيني ضد الاحتلال، وصمة #عار جديدة تلاحق هذه السلطة المنبطحة للكيان الصهيوني‼️#ارحل_ياسيسي #المنتخب_الأوليمبي pic.twitter.com/v5jGAZRwtS
— أحمد البقري (@AhmedElbaqry) November 19, 2019
During the match, players from the Egyptian Olympic team, Mustafa Mohammed and Osama
Jalal, also aired their solidarity with Palestinians by covering one eye in support of Muath Amarneh, a Palestinian freelance photographer who lost an eye after being shot by Israeli soldiers while covering a demonstration in the occupied West Bank last week.
— Abdallah Fathi (@Abdu1928) November 20, 2019
— 𝓑𝓐𝓢𝓢𝓐𝓜 (@DoNotCallMePeso) November 19, 2019
In videos posted of the match, fans from the 73,000-strong crowd can be heard chanting “our soul, our blood, we sacrifice for you Palestine”, in support of the occupied country and in rejection of the normalisation of ties with Israel as it escalates its aggression on Gaza and the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, and the recent US decision to legalise settlements.
مشاهد عظيمة من مصر الآن ,,, "بالروح بالدم نفديك يا فلسطين" .
جماهير مصر بالألاف يهتفون في القاهرة . pic.twitter.com/T6Ghd6UhXW
— غزة الآن (@GNNANOW) November 19, 2019
In 1979, Egypt became the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel. Relations between Cairo and Tel Aviv continue to flourish as the two capitals are reportedly coordinating on several issues, including security in Sinai.
Beating South Africa 3-0 in the Under 23 Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals, Egypt qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.