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Egypt police clash with Zamalek football fans

Zamalek fans demanded the release of fellow 'Ultra White Knights' arrested in connection with an assassination attempt on the club's chairman
Zamalek's chairman Mortada Mansour was nearly killed at the football stadium earlier this month (Wikicommons)

Egyptian security forces on Thursday forcibly dispersed a protest by fans of Giza-based football club Zamalek, who were demanding the release of fellow members held in connection with a recent assassination attempt on the club's chairman, eyewitnesses have said.

Hundreds of members of the "Ultras White Knights," diehard Zamalek fans, gathered on Thursday in northern Cairo's Shubra al-Kheima district to demand the release of group leaders arrested earlier this month.

The group had earlier said that it planned to march on the prosecutor-general's office in downtown Cairo to demand the release of group leaders arrested following a botched 17 August assassination attempt on club chairman Mortada Mansour.

Security forces quickly appeared, however, and began firing teargas at protesters who responded with fireworks, eyewitnesses said.

After his car was reportedly shot at by unidentified individuals earlier this month, Mansour blamed the attempt on the Ultras White Knights.

Mansour and the group have recently been at odds over a ban on fans attending Zamalek matches.

Mansour, who became Zamalek's chairman in March, pulled out of Egypt's May presidential elections after campaigning as a candidate for less than a week. He reportedly said he had received a sign from God that Abdel Fattah el-Sisi would win.

Egyptian authorities have banned fans from attending football games, citing ongoing tension between security forces and Ultras groups since a 2012 stadium disaster in Port Said in which at least 73 football fans were killed.