Egypt vote violence troubles US
Wednesday, November 30,2005 00:00
By (AP)

Egypt vote violence troubles US 
 
Rival political groups have attacked each other with knives and clubs
The United States has expressed concern over reports that Egypt’s parliamentary elections have been marred by violence and intimidation.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said reports were "sources of real concern" and the US had spoken to the Egyptian authorities.

He called on the Egyptian government to provide the conditions under which voters could express their will freely.

The final round of the election takes place on Thursday.

"We would urge the government of Egypt to provide an atmosphere during this election process in which the Egyptian people, all the Egyptian people, can express their will through the ballot box and not fear violence, not fear intimidation by any group," Mr McCormack said.

Violence

The Independent Committee on Election Monitoring (ICEM) blamed government and opposition supporters for specific instances of violence during the second-round run-off on Saturday.

It said gangs from rival political groups attacked voters with knives and clubs.

Monitors also say police blocked access to voting booths in areas where the opposition Muslim Brotherhood has a strong following.

The group is officially banned but its candidates stand as independents. The brotherhood, which has scored its biggest electoral victory ever, said more than 600 of its members were arrested.

Mr McCormack avoided mentioning the Muslim Brotherhood when asked about their success.

"We note that there have been a number of independent candidates that have won seats in the new Egyptian parliament.

"It’s important in any democratic process - for any healthy, vibrant, growing democracy - that the results of an election reflect the will of the people," he said.

 

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