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Election Clashes in Egypt Leave 5 Dead, 40 Hurt

November 15, 2000|From Associated Press

EL AMAR, Egypt — Police fired live ammunition and pummeled opposition supporters with batons and tear gas in clashes Tuesday that left five people dead and 40 injured during the final round of parliamentary voting.

In the Nile Delta village of El Amar, 20 miles north of Cairo, fighting erupted when supporters of an independent candidate broke down the doors of polling stations after they were not allowed to enter to vote, according to residents and police speaking on condition of anonymity.

Four people were killed and five injured there.

Hundreds of voters in Shubra el Kheima, in northern Cairo, also clashed with police Tuesday when polls did not open on time. Police, some on horseback, fired into the crowd after attacking the protesters with batons and dogs and using tear gas. That clash left one dead and 35 people injured.

Police also blocked polling stations and fired tear gas at would-be voters in the southern Cairo district of Maadi. In another district south of Cairo, 75 people were detained for election-related disturbances, according to police.

"Is this the democracy that [President Hosni] Mubarak is calling for?" asked Kamal Abdel Karim, who said he was prevented from entering a polling station in Maadi. Other voters complained about confusion over voting rolls and about polling stations opening late.

Egyptians in eight provinces voted in runoffs for 125 parliamentary seats for which no candidate won a majority in earlier elections.

Twelve people have been killed in election-related violence this year.

Egypt promised the fairest elections in memory after a high court order that judges must monitor every polling station.

In the last parliamentary elections in 1995, Mubarak's ruling National Democratic Party won 97% of the seats amid widespread allegations of fraud and violence in which 87 people were killed and 1,500 injured.

Opposition candidates and observers have said that, at polling stations where judges are present, fraud has indeed declined and the rate of violence is lower. They say, however, that supporters of opposition candidates still face police intimidation and harassment in the streets.

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