Monday, February 9, 2015

At least 25 people killed in Egyptian soccer riot (VIDEO)

At least 25 people were killed after a riot broke out Sunday night outside of a major soccer game in Egypt and fans stampeded the stadium and fought police. The violence began ahead of a match between Egyptian Premier League clubs Zamalek and ENPPI at Air Defense Stadium east of Cairo, according to The Associated Press.

What caused the violence wasn't immediately clear, but security officials said Zamalek fans tried to force their way into the match without tickets, sparking a showdown with police who reportedly fired tear gas and birdshot into the crowd. The hard-core Zamalek fans, known as "Ultras White Knights," frequently clash with government forces and have only recently been allowed back at matches. The Interior Ministry planned to let only 10,000 fans into the stadium, which has a capacity of about 30,000, officials said.

Such attacks in the past have sparked days of protests pitting the Ultra White Knights against police officers in a nation already on edge after years of revolt and turmoil.

A similar riot in 1012 killed 74 people during a match when Port Said's Al-Masry team hosted Cairo's Al-Ahly. That incident was the deadliest in Egypt soccer history.

On their Facebook page, the Ultras White Knights described the 22 dead as "martyrs" and accused security forces of a "massacre".

Despite the violence, the match went ahead and ended with a 1-1 draw. Some media speculated that the government could cancel the national league championship in light of Sunday's violence.

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