Egyptian Regime Blames Poll Violence on MB

Egyptian Regime Blames Poll Violence on MB

A Ministry of Interior statement said Muslim Brotherhood supporters incited riots and carried out violence. (AP).

By Ahmed Fathy, IOL Staff

 The Egyptian Ministry of Interiors Friday, December 2, accused supporters of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood (MB) of inciting riots, carrying out violent acts and assaulting security forces during the third phase of parliamentary polls.

State-run Al-Ahram daily published a statement by the Interior Ministry saying, “Security forces dealt with rioting cases incited by supporters of some candidates running under Islamic slogans”, in a clear reference to the banned but largely tolerated Muslim Brotherhood.

According to the statement, the riots and violent incidents occurred at some Delta governorates, where car tires were burnt at one road. “Supporters of a candidate running under religious slogans destroyed some electoral boxes, doors and windows of an election post that contained seven subcommittees.”

The statement added that police forces “immediately moved to protect judges and electoral boxes, arresting the rioting elements, who are now under investigation by the prosecution office”.


But the Muslim Brotherhood hit back, saying the Ministry of Interior statement is completely untrue.

“Ministry of Interior statements do not reflect realities on the ground that were broadcast by satellite stations and reported by local and foreign news agencies,” Abdul Galeel Al-Sharnouby, Chief Editor of the MB’s Web site, told IOL Friday.

“These reports, human rights groups and civil groups monitoring the elections have all revealed security forces inciting thugs to carry out violence. Security acts maximized in killing and wounding people, using gas canisters, rubber bullets and live rounds.


MB said police barred their supporters from voting. (AP).

The third and last round of Egypt’s legislative elections turned bloody Thursday, December 1, after security forces killed one citizen and wounded more than seventy others and blocked thousands of voters from casting their ballot, prompting judges supervising the process to threaten a walk-out.

In the northern Nile Delta town of Baltim, a man identified as Gomaa Saeed Al-Zeftawi, 55, was killed after a tear gas canister hit his chest.

Medical sources and the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights said he was killed by police, who responded to stone-throwing with rubber bullets and eventually live rounds.

According to the same sources and witnesses, he was a supporter of Hamdeen Sabahi, founder of Arab Dignity Party (under establishment).

But state-run media claimed Friday the victim was a supporter of the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) candidate.

Month-long parliamentary polls kicked off Wednesday, November 9, and runoffs for the third and final stage are to be held Wednesday, December 7.

The first two phases already determined 302 of the People’s Assembly’s 454 seats, 10 of which are appointed by the head of state.

Almost final results of the third round showed only nine seats were settled; four of which went to NDP, another four to independents and Al-Wafd Party grabbed a seat. The remaining 127 seats will be settled in the runoffs, where 34 MB candidates – out of 49 filed this round – will be seeking new wins for the group.

The Muslim Brotherhood already secured 76 seats in the first two rounds — five times its tally in the outgoing parliament — and could reach the 100 mark if half of its 49 third-phase candidates win.

The NDP’s dominance in parliament is not at risk but it could scramble to retain the two-thirds majority needed to make changes to the constitution and pass emergency laws.

Campaigning under the slogan “Islam is the solution”, the Muslim Brotherhood movement founded in 1928 made major gains in the first two phases and demonstrated its popular support base.

Its surprise showing in the elections will boost its case for legalization as a political party, an option Mubarak’s regime and Washington have consistently ruled out.