3 killed in violence during Egyptian election

3 killed in violence during Egyptian election
Authorities block polling station in Muslim Brotherhood stronghold


A third person was killed in the village of al-Khiyata, near the Mediterranean city of Damietta, the independent Egyptian Organization for Human Rights said. The Sawasya rights group said he was killed when police fired live rounds.

There was no immediate comment from the Interior Ministry, which has previously denied using live rounds against voters.

Three people have been killed in previous voting rounds.

130 arrested
Police in Cairo said earlier that more than 130 people had been wounded in election violence in four provinces, and more than 80 people were arrested.

Earlier, police beat back women voters with sticks when they tried to enter a cordoned-off polling station in an opposition stronghold in the Nile Delta on the final day of Egypt’s staggered legislative elections.

Police blocked access to a polling station in the city of Zaqaziq’s Nasiriyah district, where a candidate supported by the Muslim Brotherhood was favored to win. The Brotherhood is the country’s largest opposition group.

About 25 women managed to push through the police line, prompting more officers to rush at them to hold them back. Some officers beat the women with sticks while others shoved them back.

“Nobody is entering here,” a police officer bellowed to the crowd, which continued to push the phalanx of officers. The polling station doors were closed.

Typical confrontation
While voting was normal in other areas Wednesday, the scene in Zaqaziq was typical of the confrontations that have occurred with increasingly regularity during the past four weeks of voting as the Brotherhood has won far more support than pundits expected.

The government has responded by arresting hundreds of Brotherhood campaign workers and blockading polling stations in districts where the Islamic movement is strong. The Brotherhood has 35 candidates standing in Wednesday’s runoffs for the remaining 127 of the 444 elected seats in parliament.

Voting Wednesday is taking place in nine provinces where no candidate received more than half the vote in the third round on Dec. 1. Each stage of the election, which began on Nov. 6, has been followed by a runoff.

So far, the ruling National Democratic Party of President Hosni Mubarak and its allied independents have won 222 seats. The Brotherhood has taken 76 seats, more than five times the number it held in the outgoing parliament. True independents have won two seats and other opposition parties have taken 11.

Judges have set aside the outcome in three constituencies, leaving six seats undecided in regions where voting was deemed too fraudulent or violent to let stand.

In the outgoing parliament, the NDP had 398 seats, the Brotherhood controlled 15, true independents had 23 and opposition legislators held 16.

The Muslim Brotherhood calls for implementing Islamic law but has long been vague about what this means. It campaigns for headscarves for women and against immodest dress, for example, but it insists it stands for a more moderate version of Islam than that followed in Saudi Arabia.