Wild celebrations from Algerian football fans degenerated in street violence and stirred backlash from France’s rightwing circles.
Rabat – Mohamed Henni, the French-Algerian YouTube sensation mostly known for smashing his TV when his favorite teams lose, has slammed Algerian football fans’ “disrespectful” and “un-Algerian” display of emotions as Algeria’s football team continues its stellar display at the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN).
Henni’s latest video comes amid ongoing conversation in France about street violence and reported acts of vandalism while Algerian football fans celebrated Algeria’s good performances at the 2019 CAN.
“I really do not understand why you are doing this,” Henni said in the video, referring to the overflowing crowds of Algerian supporters in cities across France. “When Algeria wins we break things. When we lose we break even more. When our matches end in draws, we break again. I for one am fed up my friends, fed up!”
The TV smashing fan went on to wonder about the magnitude of the wild celebrations should Algeria go on to win the Africa Cup of Nations. Half-jokingly, he showed a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower, saying: “My friends I’m in Paris as you can see. So let me show you one last image of the tower before they [Algerian supporters] come to destroy it.”
Algeria on Thursday, July 11, played against Ivory Coast in a quarter-final match that has been widely interpreted as the best game produced so far at the ongoing CAN. In a physically intense and technically tense confrontation that ended in a 1-1 draw after 120 minutes of play, Algeria went on to win 4-3 in the penalty shootout.
In France, the victory against Ivory Coast was celebrated with great fanfare as Algerian fans took to the streets around the European country to express their joy and show solidarity with the national team. But the raucous celebrations stirred controversy in France after reports that fans’ celebrations were mired in violence.
Algerians’ ‘Fucked up’ reputation
Near the Champs Elysees Avenue in Paris, crowds stormed and vandalized two shops, according to reports in the French media. But the incident that hit a special nerve, generating backlash from French society, was the report of the death of a young mother hit by a car in Montpellier, Southern France. Meanwhile, her baby, who was also hit and gravely injured, is undergoing intense medical care.
“We cannot condone this as Algerians. We are responsible for doing the cleaning in our own house,” the YouTuber said, in reference to “fucked up” reputation Algerians have in France. “Our parents struggled hard to make ends meet, to earn a stellar reputation…. And you guys come along and want to ruin everything, ruin that hard work in just three days! As Algerians we have to make two or three times more effort to have a good name… because we have a much fucked up reputation.”
Towards the end of the video, however, Henni slammed far-right personalities who have argued that people who identify more as Algerians than French have no right to take to French streets and brandish Algerian flags in celebrations.
“France stayed more than 130 years in Algeria, and some do not even want Algerians spending two or three hours at the Eiffel Tower. What is that all about? We are all brothers. Normally, we should all celebrate alongside each other whether it is Algeria or France that wins.”