A young man helps another one during clashes between pro-Ukraine football fans and pro-Russian separatists on May 2, 2014 in Odessa. (AFP PHOTO / STRINGER)
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The deaths of 42 people in Odessa that greatly added to the toll of Ukraine's crisis had its roots not only in the worsening political confrontation but also rampant football hooliganism.The clashes that culminated in a horrific inferno of a trade union building that killed 38 people – most of them pro-Russian activists – began Friday with what was meant to be a peaceful march to a football stadium for a 5 p.m. match.The march, draped in the yellow and blue of both Ukraine's flag and the club colors of Metalist, was set upon by several hundred pro-Russian thugs obviously prepared for violence, some armed and wearing ski masks and helmets, witnesses said.In the melee that ensued, at least four people died from gunshots and a dozen people were wounded.After the street clash subsided, the growing crowd of supporters turned to a tent camp the pro-Russian activists had been staying in since mid-March, on a big square in front of a trade union building.
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