Cairo’s Court of Urgent Matters on Saturday reportedly declared football supporter’s “ultra” groups to be “terrorists” and banned them, in a ruling which came at the behest of Mourtada Mansour, chairman of the Zamalek club.
Mansour, who opposed the 2011 overthrow of Hosni Mubarak and supported the 2013 coup against Mohammed Morsi has attacked organised fan groups, including Zamalek’s own Ultras White Knights, as “a criminal phenomenon that should be eradicated.”
The ultras were at the forefront of the struggle against Mubarak and have had a violent relationship with the country’s security services.
The court’s ruling has been rejected by the White Knights, and it is still open to appeal, although unconfirmed reports suggested several members of the group had already been arrested.
Tensions remain high over the deaths of 20 Zamalek supporters who died in March after they were tear gassed prior to a match. The White Knights on Sunday released a new tribute song to the “20 Zamalek martyrs who lost their lives on the hands of the police inside, telling the story of what happened in the Corridor Of Death in front of Air Defense Stadium in the 8th of February, 2015. May their souls RIP, and their revenge shall be taken…”
The court accused the ultras fan groups of complicity in riots and vandalism and on that basis decided that fan groups should be considered terrorist organisations, according to state media Al-Ahram.
The decision cancels an earlier ruling which went against Mansour and comes as elements of the judicial system have also been handing out multiple death sentences to opponents of the current military regime, including members of the Muslim Brotherhood and to ex-President Morsi.
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