Clashes between Ahly’s group of ardent supporters (Ultras Ahlawy) and security personnel following an Egypt Cup game have left at least 141 people injured on Tuesday.
The health and interior ministries said around 90 supporters and 45 police forces were hurt in the violence that erupted towards the end of Ahly's 4-0 drubbing of lower division side Kima Aswan in the competition's round of 32 at Cairo Stadium.
Few minutes before the final whistle, television cameras caught police forces using batons to beat up and chase the enthusiastic fans, who rushed to the stadium tunnels for an escape route.
The reasons for that clash were not immediately clear but widespread reports said the police reacted after the fans hurled insults at the interior ministry, former interior minister Habib El-Adly and ousted president Hosni Mubarak.
El-Adly and Mubarak are currently tried on charges of killing peaceful protesters during January’s popular uprising, which forced them from office.
Eye witnesses said the clashes continued outside the stadium. The angry supporters, 15 of whom were detained, set a handful of cars alight amid a recurrent free-for-all between the bitter foes.
“The police forces were provoked by the fans, who were chanting offensive slogans against them,” an interior ministry official said.
“They threw fireworks and ripped out some seats before throwing them at the policemen, 45 of whom were injured. The police had to intervene to save public property.”
Egyptian Football Association (EFA) member Magdy Abdel-Ghany criticized the ultras for what he perceived as “unacceptable behavior”.
“Insults are never justified,” he said while giving his post-match analysis to Modern Sport.
“There are no reasons to insult the former minister or the current minister. We should concentrate solely on football.”
Some Ultras Ahlawy members said they acted in self-defense after police attacked them for chanting offensive songs against Mubarak and his entourage. They denied attacking incumbent interior minister Mansour Essawy.
The already tense relationship between the Egyptian police and football fans has become more hostile following the uprising. Several fierce clashes occurred between both sides during the past few months.
Eighteen Zamalek fans were arrested following the team’s last Egyptian Premier League game against Wadi Degla last season. They were later released.