Showing posts from February, 2015

Egyptian spectator ban: flashpoint for conflict and statement of weakness

By James M. Dorsey An Egyptian Cabinet decision to end the suspension of professional soccer in late March but reinstitute the ban on spectators attending matches could spark renewed clashes between militant fans and security forces. The decision against the backdrop of mounting evidence that Egyptian general-turned-President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi has no apparent intention of easing repression implicitly acknowledges the role of fans in continued widespread opposition to his rule. Professional soccer was suspended in early February after some 20 members of Ultras White Knights (UWK), the militant support group of Al Zamalek SC, were killed in a stampede at a Cairo stadium. The incident was likely the result of supporters seeking to gain access to a match in the absence of available tickets rather than a deliberate and planned assault by security forces. UWK is nevertheless convinced that it was targeted by security forces much like militant supports of Zamalek arch rival A

Soccer racism highlights Europe’s struggle with transition and entrenched racism

(Source: Pitchgods) By James M. Dorsey Recent soccer-related racism highlights European nations’ tortured transition from ethnically relatively homogeneous to multicultural immigration societies amid a resurgence of entrenched racial, including anti-Semitic, attitudes that flourish in times of economic crisis and are not limited to Muslim communities. Fans across Europe have lined up on both sides of the racism divide in a debate that involves despite recent attacks on freedom of speech and Jewish symbols in Copenhagen and Paris, Jews, blacks and Europeans of immigrant extraction in general as much as it does Muslims. The debate is being waged against the backdrop of the rise of the extreme right in a Europe that struggles with high unemployment, low economic growth and thousands of refugees washing up against its shores who are seeking refuge from conflict in the Middle East and Africa. The targeting by racist fans of Muslims and non-Muslims alike is evident in a s

Soccer deaths renews spotlight on Egypt’s notorious security forces

By James M. Dorsey A stampede at a Cairo stadium earlier this month, much like a politically-loaded soccer brawl in the Suez Canal city of Port Said three years ago, is shining a spotlight on Egypt’s unreformed, unabashedly violent, and politically powerful police and security forces amid confusion over what precisely happened and how many fans died. Amid security forces holding fans and fans holding police responsible and conflicting assertions of the number of people who died in the incident one thing stands out: the deep-seated distrust and animosity between significant segments of the Egyptian public and an unreformed security force that was long the hated symbol of the regime of toppled President Hosni Mubarak; played a key role in persuading the military in 2013 to overthrow Egypt’s first and only democratic elected president; and has since left a bloody of brutal violence as evidenced by the deaths of some 1,400 anti-government protesters in the last 19 months.

Why do so many Egyptian soccer fans die in confrontations with police? (JMD quoted on Global Post)

Laura Dean February 11, 2015 17:08 Why do so many Egyptian soccer fans die in confrontations with police? Nearly one hundred soccer fans have died in clashes with police over the past three years. But the country's interior ministry denies responsibility. ENLARGE Portraits of the victims of the Port Said Stadium are seen as Supporters of Egypt's Al-Ahly football club gather in Mokhtar El-Tetsh Stadium in Cairo, on February 1, 2014, to mark the second anniversary of the deadly riot. (AFP/AFP/Getty Images) CAIRO, Egypt — There was a terrible sense of deja vu for Egypt when at least 22 people were killed during clashes with security forces outside a soccer stadium on Sunday. Witnesses said that most died from suffocation or were crushed in the stampede that followed when security forces fired tear gas to disperse spectators who were trying to force their way into the match between local teams Zamalek and Enppi. Videos of the incident

Death of Zamalek fans in riot stirs political conspiracies in Egypt (JMD quoted in The Guardian)

Death of Zamalek fans inriot stirs political conspiracies in Egypt ·         Clash echoes previous incident in Port Said in 2012 ·         At least 19 dead after police fire on Egyptian supporters ·         Dozens dead and hundreds injured in Port Said   Mourners and relatives of a man killed during the clashes in Cairo at Zamalek’s match with ENPPI. Photograph: Hassan Salby/Almasry Alyoum/EPA Patrick Kingsley in Cairo Friday 13 February 201510.37 GMT Sitting outside Cairo’s main mortuary on Sunday night, as the bodies of dead football fans were carried in and out for their autopsies, Saad Abdelhamid thinks he knows why they have died. “The massacre that took place today was revenge on those who took part in the revolution,” says the 27-year-old salesman. “Witness this,” shouts another mourner, raising his bloodied hands. “Witness what our government is doing to our kids.” To outsiders, the death of at least 22 fans of Zamalek SC  in a stampede outs

Egypt's Ultras: 'We don't believe in state justice' (JMD quoted on Al Jazeera)

Egypt's Ultras: 'We don't believe in state justice' Al Jazeera  –  18 hours ago     RELATED CONTENT View Photo Egypt's Ultras: 'We don't believe in state justice' For Mohamed*, a 23-year-old member of Ultras White Knights (UWK) - a hardcore group of football fans that support Cairo-based Zamalek Sporting Club - Sunday started with a sense of excitement. For the first time in over three years - since the February 2012 Port Said disaster in which 74 al-Ahly fans died - spectators were allowed to attend an Egyptian Premier League match. Yet, Sunday turned into another day of tragedy as at least 19 Zamalek fans died following clashes with the security forces outside the stadium. The deaths are likely to trigger further unrest. "We will take our revenge as we know the government won't take any action, except to announce the opening of an investigation that will lead to nothing," said Moha