Heightened Levels of Violence Mars Election, Six Killed and Dozens Injured
Since early this morning, ICEM had been receiving reports of violent incidents throughout Egypt. Reports reveal a systematic and planned campaign to prevent opposition voters from going to the polls. This led to large demonstrations which then in turn were severely repressed with the use of excessive force on the part of the security forces. The day’s toll is currently six fatalities and dozens of injuries. Thus far, the violent incidents have posed the greatest challenge to the fairness of the elections and have severely prevented voters from freely expressing their will. As the election process unfolded, it became obvious that security forces interventions have been fully committed to obstructing opposition parties and voters from participating in the election. These organized acts of violence and repression not only provide for a truly unacceptable background for any democratic process but furthermore discredit the election outcome.
In the Bandar Damitta and Faraskor districts of Damitta, security forces used massive amounts of force to disperse crowds, numbering in the thousands, in an action that left three dead Shaaban Ahmad, Said Hassan and Atef Ahmad . The crowds had gathered outside protesting numerous polling-station closings. Police then resorted to using rubber bullets, tear gas and other hazardous chemicals. In some instances, the security forces shot into the crowds using snipers positioned on the top of nearby buildings.
In Tileen district of Sharqiah, the police employed force against demonstrators, using rubber bullets and tear gas. One boy was killed and dozens injured. In the Zaqazeeq district, two people died, four ICEM observers and the independent candidate, Lutfy Sheehata, have been hospitalized after having been assaulted.
In Daqahleya, fights are continuing in Shaha, Sherbeen and Atmeeda districts. This has already left one small girl in critical condition as well as resulted in several others having been injured.
In Bandar Suhag district of Suhag, thousands are participating in a peaceful sit-in demonstration in front of the court house of Suhag. The demonstration is in protest of the disenfranchisement of many voters as well as the excessive use of force by security forces which left many injured. One of the injured has been hospitalized and is in critical condition.
In the Qaleen district of Kafr Shiekh, thousands of voters gathered outside polling-stations throughout the day as they were denied entry. At 3:00 pm, they broke into the polling-station, took the ballots and the boxes, and then proceeded to throw them into the street. This happened at Altegara ElThanaweya school for Girls, Althanaweya Elsenaeya School, and Al Mogamma ElZera’ee Polling Centers. This same scenario is being repeated at Al-Sawa district where thousands of disenfranchised voters are currently protesting.
Independent Committee for
The Independent Committee for Election Monitoring (ICEM), a coalition of sixteen NGOs led by the Ibn Khaldun Center is deploying a total of 5,000 observers to monitor the voting process for the Parliamentary Elections. ICEM is aimed at providing for the integrity and the credibility of the election process. In the third phase of the election, ICEM is deploying 1,300 observers to monitor the voting and counting procedures in 68 electoral districts where 254 candidates are contesting 127 seats.