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Scuffles outside Egypt court after election rulings

Tight security at High Constitutional Court prevents major outbreak of violence after controversial rulings

Ekram Ibrahim, Thursday 14 Jun 2012
Supreme Constitutional Court
Protesters gather before the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC)waiting for the hearing of the court. (Photo: Mai Shaheen)
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Egypt's High Constitutional Court has declared the Political Disenfranchisement Law unconstitutional, paving the way for Mubarak's former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq to stand in the presidential election runoff on 16-17 June.

In a separate verdict, the court declared the parliamentary election law unconstitutional in a move that means1/3 of the parliament will be re-elected in fresh polls.

Around 200 hundred protesters gathered outside the court to hear the verdicts but many more were prevented from reaching the building by road blocks and a heavy security presence.

Many protesters said they hoped for the application of the disenfranchisement law and parliament's dissolution.

“I wish we could start all over again. We didn’t make a revolution to get the Brotherhood or the old regime,” Soad Ashraf, 33, told Ahram Online.

The area around the court was cordoned off with barbed wire and a heavy security presence that outnumbered protesters.

On Wednesday, the Ministry of Justice issued a decree authorising the arrest of civilians by military intelligence and police officers. The move left many wondering how the military would use this authority and why the decision was made the day before the constitutional court's verdict.

“It was feared members of the Muslim Brotherhood might smash into the High Constitutional Court if the decision went against its interests,” Fathy Saleh, 58, told Ahram Online. Saleh was standing outside court and said he would vote for Ahmed Shafiq in the runoff.

When the court's decisions were announced, clashes erupted as protesters expressed their anger and frustration, but things quickly cooled down.

Some protesters were satisfied with the decision to dissolve parliament, whilst others were frustrated that the disenfranchisement law was ruled unconstitutional, and others were unable to make sense of what was happening.

“Does this means Morsi is still running?” asked Safwat Karim.

Frustrations, anger and ambiguity led many to march to Tahrir Square to show their objection. “We have nothing else to do but go to Tahrir Square now,” said Rashad Sabry, 35.

 

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