“Where is the press; here is the rigging,” chanted hundreds of angry protestors before the Suez Security Department this afternoon.
The protestors included sympathisers of Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Wafd Party candidates, as well as candidates who are members of the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) but who are running as independents.
The joint complaint is that monitors and representatives of candidates were not allowed into voting stations to observe the voting process.
“We arrived at the doorsteps of the voting stations by the crack of dawn, but already all spaces were taken up by the representatives of candidates selected by the ruling party (NDP),” said Mohamed Ali.
Ali is a representative of Al-Qadri Rasslan, originally an NDP member who declined to join the electoral college and decided to run on his own. Ali had all the required papers on him, but still he was denied access, he said.
Mohamed Saber, a representative for Al-Wafd candidate Azab Abou Sarou also complained that he was denied access to voting stations to observe the electoral process. “We called up [Al-Wafd leader] Sayed El-Badawi and he is making a round of calls with officials, but it is already four o’clock [in the afternoon] and the ballot boxes are being taken out of the voting stations,” he said.
In theory, the voting process should start at 8am and run until 7pm.
“But there was no real voting, because they did not allow voters to get in most of the voting stations,” said Moustafa Mohamed, representative of Farouk Metwali, an independent candidate.
As he was speaking, Mohamed started to run and shouted: “They are getting the boxes out! People of Al-Arabein (the district he was in) follow them!”
The protesting crowd start to run and shout, “Come press, come to see the rigging, come!”
An intensive security presence surrounded the angry crowds and prevented them from following the allegedly rigged ballot boxes.
“People are entitled to speak their mind, but they should not turn to violent acts,” said Hesham, a police officer onsite.
According to the officer, who declined to give his surname name, candidates with grievances “got into the Security Department to file their complaints. Their supporters are protesting meanwhile, but the police is not planning to interfere. We have no orders to end the demonstration.”
Simultaneously, electoral banners were being removed from Suez Al-Arabeine district.
“It was a very disturbing scene today at the Nasseriyah School in Mansoura. We really worried that there would be many killings, but security intervention ended the situation,” said Nasser, from the Lower Egypt city of Mansoura.
Speaking to Ahram Online, Nasser said that the clashes were between “thugs hired by (Wahid) Fouda”, the candidate of the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) and supporters of Muslim Brotherhood candidate Ibrahim Al-Iraki.
“Security was tough with both sides, almost equally,” said Nasser.
According to Nasser, Muslim Brotherhood-NDP clashes occurred elsewhere in the governorate of Daqahliya “especially in the districts of Badaway and Sandoub”.
Meanwhile, Nasser added, “there were horrible inter-NDP clashes in many districts, including Kafr Al-Badamas, Ezbetel-Shal and Al-Hawwar.”
According to Nasser, “the generous money spent by candidates selected by the NDP has not settled the electoral battle as some would have thought.”