• December 14, 2005
  • 2 minutes read

Protest in Egypt against ‘rigged’ elections

Protest in Egypt against ‘rigged’ elections

Protest in Egypt against ‘rigged’ elections 

Egyptians shouting anti-government slogans during a protest in .
More than 200 opposition supporters protested here yesterday against what they said were rigged parliamentary elections in which President Hosni Mubarak’s ruling party won some three quarters of the seats.

The demonstrators from the Kefaya Movement also condemned the deaths of 12 people in violence during the elections, which took part in three stages over a month and ended last week. “This is the first protest after the elections, against what happened in the elections — the forgery and the beatings that occurred,” Kefaya coordinator George Ishak said.

Monitoring groups said the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) resorted to bribery and coercion to secure votes. London-based Amnesty International said it was calling on the government to launch an independent inquiry into police shootings on the last day of voting, December 7, in which Amnesty and other rights groups say at least eight people died.

“The organisation said the investigation should focus on the circumstances in which police used lethal fire and ensure that any officers or other officials responsible for using or ordering excessive force should be brought to justice,” Amnesty said.

The demonstrators began their protest in front of a court in central Cairo before marching in nearby streets. They called for the resignation of Interior Minister Habib El Adli and carried a coffin inscribed “Funeral of the elections”.

“This return to the street is for the simple reason that the route of change through elections is blocked,” said Abdel Halim Kandil, a spokesman for Kefaya, a loose grouping of political pro-reform activists.

During the month of voting, riot police blocked polling stations in areas where opposition candidates, from the Muslim Brotherhood, had strong support. The Brotherhood won nearly 20 per cent of the seats. Security forces also harassed and beat journalists and confiscated their equipment. The authorities blamed violence on supporters of opposition candidates.

Protesters said they invited the Brotherhood to attend but said only a few individuals from the group came.