One Killed, 50 Hurt in Clashes as Egyptians Vote
One man was killed and around 50 other people wounded, including at least eight policemen, in clashes involving supporters of Islamist candidates for parliament during voting on Tuesday in northern Egypt.
The clash in which one person was killed pitted supporters of a Muslim Brotherhood candidate against police in the Nile Delta town of Ashmun, hospital officials told AFP.
At least 23 other people were wounded, including three policemen, they added.
A riot erupted after police allegedly prevented voters going to polling stations, fearing they would cast their ballot for the Brotherhood candidate, Ashraf Badr Eddinne, who had strong local support, witnesses said.
Badr Eddine was running against a candidate from the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP).
The Muslim Brotherhood is illegal in Egypt, but it can field candidates running as independents.
Riot police in Ashmun fired pump-action shotguns, killing Gamal Abdel-Al Yussef, 38, according to a senior official at a government hospital in Ashmun, which was guarded by dozens of armed and helmeted riot police.
One of the wounded was reported in serious but stable condition.
The official showed AFP X-rays of four pellets lodged in one victim's leg. There was no evidence to support earlier reports that rubber-coated or plastic-coated bullets were used.
Police also fired tear gas and clubbed protestors, hospital officials and witnesses said.
Relatives of the dead man and other demonstrators tried to set the police station on fire in this town of 25,000 residents, but were stopped by the security forces, witnesses said.
Several buses were set ablaze, and the NDP offices stoned.
Alaa, a student, told AFP later that the violence resembled the Palestinian uprising, with "the police firing guns and us throwing stones."
Rioters had also left tires burning on the unpaved and muddy streets patrolled by riot police clutching rifles and shotguns, with security vans, trucks and buses placed at strategic intersections.
The international news agency, Associated Press, accused police of beating up one of its journalists who was reporting in Ashmun and said it planned to file a complaint with Egyptian authorities.
In Port Said, around 30 people, including at least five policemen, were wounded in stone-throwing clashes between Muslim Brotherhood and NDP supporters during which police intervened, a correspondent in the Suez Canal town reported.
The Brotherhood accused the NDP candidate of trying to bribe voters, while police said it arrested 28 supporters of Muslim fundamentalist candidate Akram al-Shaer.
Fifteen people needed hospital treatment.
The Brotherhood also protested a government decision to cancel parliamentary elections in a district of the Mediterranean city of Alexandria where it said its candidate would win.
Two Brotherhood candidates won outright in the first round held October 18 in other neighborhood of Alexandria.
Runoff elections for those who did not garner enough votes in the first round were staged in Ashmun, Alexandria and other parts of northern Egypt as well as three areas of the south on Tuesday.
Voting has been divided into three stages for the first time to ensure compliance with a law adopted in July that requires a member of the judiciary to be present in each of the country's 15,000 or more polling places.
The elections end on November 14 -- ASHMUN, Egypt (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)