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Egypt names hard-core soccer fans as terror group

In an arguably unconstitutional ruling, an Egyptian court has banned the Ultras soccer fan clubs as terrorist organizations.
Egyptian soccer fans known as "Ultras" shout slogans against the government and police while holding a flare during the African Nations Cup qualifying soccer match between Egypt and Botswana, in Cairo October 15, 2014. The banner reads, "Ultras not a criminal, Freedom for fans".REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh  (EGYPT - Tags: SPORT SOCCER CIVIL UNREST) - RTR4ACF9

CAIRO — The Cairo Court for Urgent Matters ruled May 16 to designate all Ultras soccer fan groups as terrorist organizations and outlaw them across Egypt. The Ultras are zealous, hard-core fans known for their riotous behavior at matches. The two biggest groups, the Ultras Ahlawy and the Ultras Zamalek White Knights, count nearly 2 million youths among their ranks and constitute a formidable force at protests.

They are also a thorn in the side of Mortada Mansour, the owner of the Zamalek SC soccer team. Zamalek and Ahly are the two major league teams in Cairo and easily the most popular teams in the country, setting up a classic rivalry. Swept up in the thrill of a good match and the adrenaline of the crowd, the Ultras are known for getting quite rowdy. Mansour has accused the Ultras of attacking government buildings, storming the Ahly soccer club and attempting to assassinate the minister of sports. The recent terrorist designation is the outcome of a lawsuit he filed against the Ultras last September.

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