CAIRO, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- Riots in Egypt's capital on Sunday claimed the lives of several people after fans of a soccer club tried to make their way into a stadium without tickets, according to Egyptian media.
The violence erupted ahead of a premiere league match between two Cairo teams, Zamalek and ENPPI, at Cairo's Air Defence Stadium, a venue owned by the Egyptian army.
Police used rubber bullets and tear gas against crowds of hardcore Zamalek supporters, known as "Ultras White Knights," who tried forcing their way inside the stadium without tickets.
The game was the first for Zamalek fans since the lift of a March 2014 ban against the group attending national league matches following 2012 soccer riots in Port Said that left 70 people dead.
Casualty figures for Sunday's riots vary. Egyptian newspaper Al Ahram reports accounts from a source in Cairo's Ahli Bank Hospital, who says they received bodies of 14 people who "died of suffocation and stampede after being tear-gassed." A witness allegedly told Daily News Egypt that the morgue had counted 27 bodies, while the Facebook page for Ultras White Knights puts the count at 22.
Several of Egypt's soccer fans are deeply politicized, regularly clashing with police, and many are said to have played a part in the 2011 overthrow of Egypt's former president, Hosni Mubarak.