09 February 2015
The death of at least 40 militants, highly politicised, and street battle-hardened Egyptian football fans in clashes with security forces raises the stakes for General-turned-President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s efforts to suppress political dissent.
The incident is one of the worst in Egyptian sporting history and the latest in a number of mass killings involving security forces since Al-Sisi overthrew Mohammed Morsi, Egypt’s first and only democratically elected president, in a military coup in 2013.
It resembled in some ways a politically loaded football brawl in Port Said three years ago, in which 74 militant fans or ultras died, and is likely to re-energise the ultras, one of Egypt’s largest social movements mostly organised in rival groups supporting a specific football team. Ultras played a key role in the toppling in 2011 of President Hosni Mubarak, subsequent protests against his military successors as well as Morsi, a member of the since outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, and anti-government demonstrations against the rise of Al-Sisi.
…James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies as Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, co-director of the Institute of Fan Culture of the University of Würzburg and the author of the blog, The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer, and a forthcoming book with the same title.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 10/02/2015