Police disperse soccer hooligans in Algeria

Police disperse soccer hooligans after violent clashes between hundreds of supporters of Algerian soccer clubs Nahd (Hussein Dey) and RCK (Kouba) in Algiers May 20, 2011. Picture taken May 20, 2011. REUTERS/Ramzi Boudina 

Algeria is the latest North African nation to have been hit by mounting soccer violence in the region.

In the latest incident, police dispersed hundreds of supporters of Algerian soccer clubs Nahd and RCK of Friday.

The violence follows a series of incidents in Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia that has prompted the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to mete out stiff punishments to several clubs for fan violence during African championship matches.

Among those targeted earlier this month was Algeria's JS Kabylie who was fined $50,000 because its supporters threw missiles during an African Confederation Cup game against Missile FC from Gabon.

CAF warned Kabylie that it would be banned from the Cup for a year if its supporters continued to throw missiles.

Both Egypt and Tunisia have witnessed a spurt in soccer violence as a result of a reduced police presence and lax security at matches. Tunisia earlier this month ordered that all domestic first league matches be played behind closed doors.

The brawl between Nahd and RHK supporters occurred despite reports that Algeria has also banned spectators from its top league games.

Egyptian and Moroccan authorities have threatened to prematurely halt their soccer seasona if the violence continues.

The police in post-revolution Egypt and Tunisia, viewed as henchmen of the old regimes, have been largely absent or stood aside during incidents in a bid to shore up their tarnished image. They are believed to want to avoid clashes with militant fans and at the same time demonstrate the need for them to enforce law and order.


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