Rights activists infuriated by interior ministry statement
Salma Shukrallah, Wednesday 1 Dec 2010
Government accuses media of spinning stories of violence; watchdogs disagree.


In response to reports that the government overlooked rampant violence and election fraud, Egypt’s Interior Minister Habib El Adly said in a statement Wednesday that the role of the Ministry during the elections was limited to “securing the process and maintaining the country's stability and safety, ensuring that citizens were getting a chance to vote without interference.”

El Adly stressed the state security's impartiality during the process and its role in controlling the actions of some of the political powers that tried to hamper the process. He said that there were several deaths during the electoral process either as a result of unrelated accidents or natural causes that have been channeled by some to serve the election process.

Activists have responded with vehemence to El Adly’s statement, saying that state security was actively involved in the violence and fraud. Ramy Raouf, a member of the Task Force Against Violence - a coalition created to monitor violence on elections day - said witnesses across Egypt’s 29 governorates observed state security actively blocking voters from entering polling stations, and opened fire at several candidate supporters.

"During the final vote count in Mahalla, the anti-riot police came down on the people observing with sticks although it is a right of every citizen to witness the process,” Raouf said.

Amnesty International’s regional director Hassiba Hadjsahraouni said “if the Egyptian state does not investigate the violence that took place on elections day it is then endorsing it”.

Minister of Information Anas El Fiqi has placed blame for the “negative reports” on the international media, claiming that stories had been spun to focus primarily on incidents of violations.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/News/991.aspx