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Violence Breaks Out as Egypt Votes

Opposition supporters clash with police as a second round of elections takes place.

November 21, 2005|From Associated Press

DAMANHUR, Egypt — Widespread violence marred the second round of Egypt's parliamentary vote Sunday as opposition supporters and police clashed, officials said. At least one person was killed and scores were wounded.

The violence was in sharp contrast to the Nov. 9 first round of voting, which passed in relative peace and saw the long-banned opposition Muslim Brotherhood party double its representation in parliament.

Late Sunday, the Brotherhood said its count showed that most of its 60 candidates had either won seats or gained sufficient votes to participate in runoff balloting Saturday.

Police and Brotherhood supporters exchanged accusations over who started the melees, which also involved supporters of President Hosni Mubarak's ruling National Democratic Party. Knives, chains and Molotov cocktails were said to have been used in the clashes.

The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights blamed the ruling party in a report Sunday.

Candidates associated with the Brotherhood, banned in 1954, won 34 seats in the first round of voting. While prohibited from formally becoming a political party, the Brotherhood fields candidates as nominal independents whose sympathies are widely known by voters.

The Brotherhood calls for implementing Islamic law but is vague about what that means. It advocates the veil for women and campaigns against perceived immorality in the media, but insists that it represents a more moderate form of Islam than that practiced in deeply conservative Saudi Arabia.

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