Egypt’s Banned Ultras Soccer Fans Take to Streets

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CAIRO — Chanting slogans, carrying signs and waving flares, these eager young men who gather in Egypt could be mistaken for Arab Spring demonstrators.

And in this country, the recently-banned hardcore soccer fans known as ultras have played a political role.

Ultras, whose name comes from the Latin word for “beyond,” started in Latin America and Europe in the 1950s before coming to Arab countries. The first to form in Egypt, Ultras White Knights, emerged in 2007 to support the Zamalek team. Groups backing archrival al-Ahly and others followed.

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