Zamalek football fans storm club, clash with security forces

Wael Osama, Tony Gamal Gabriel, Thursday 19 Sep 2013

Security forces fire teargas and arrest people at the scene after Ultras fans storm Zamalek club in Giza on Thursday afternoon

(Photo: Yasser Al-Ghoul)

Members of a hardcore group of fans of Zamalek football club, the Ultras White Knights (UWK), stormed the club's headquarters in Cairo on Thursday following a protest demanding changes to the club's leadership.

Minor clashes are ongoing between security forces and the Ultras White Knights, a group of hardcore Zamalek football club fans, near the club's headquarters in Giza.

An Ahram Online reporter at the scene says that military police are firing shots in the air to disperse the crowds near Zamalek recreational club and are also arresting people.

Scuffles are also still ongoing on a nearby side street as police continue to fire teargas. Birdshot is also being fired.

There are no official reports of casualties yet.

Several Central Security Forces (CSF) trucks are parked outside the club and the CSF are out in force at the scene. Dozens of military police personnel are also present outside one of the club's gates.

The Ultras had stormed the club's headquarters earlier following a protest demanding changes to the club's leadership.

They reportedly torched some buildings inside the club, which is located in the Mit Okba district close to Mohandiseen.

A police vehicle outside one of the gates was torched, according to the Ahram Online correspondent on the scene. A shop nearby was also torched. Sayed Mahmoud, 36, the owner of the shop, told Ahram Online that "thousands of Ultras members stormed the club."

"They had fireworks with them, and the police fired teargas and birdshots," he added.

Adel Hassan, 35, who works in a shop in the area, said that the Ultras also used Molotov cocktails.

Protesters demanded the resignation of chairman Mamdouh Abbas for his "failures in leading the club," as well as that of first team coach Helmy Toulan after the club failed to qualify for the CAF Champions League semi-finals.

Ultras said on their Facebook page that they are protesting "to demand the resignation of Abbas who failed to keep the team's stars."

"We are unarmed, the police are the ones who started firing at us," a UWK member at the scene told Ahram Online on condition of anonymity. 

Another UWK member, who also prefered to be anonymous, told Ahram Online that "while recent match results was the straw that broke the camel's back, this is a revolution against a 10-year-long standing corruption in the club."

Zamalek offloaded a number of their star players due to financial problems after the league season was cancelled earlier in the summer, including Ibrahim Salah, Burkinabe Cisse, Sabri Rahil and Ahmed Magdi.



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