Bedouins wreak havoc in South Sinai after candidates lose

Ahram Online, Saturday 7 Jan 2012

Tribal demonstrators were enraged after the loss of their candidates in the parliamentary elections’ third round, attacked government building and blocked the highway

An elderly Bedouin votes in the elections in North Sinai (Photo:Reuters)

Tensions in South Sinai have escalated over the past couple of days as Bedouins have been violently protesting at what they described as elections fraud.   
On Friday afternoon, tens of Bedouins rallied in front of a vote-counting station in the city of El-Tor. Demonstrators believed ballot boxes had been tampered with as part of a vote rigging plot and insisted that electoral results in the southern peninsula governorate had been fixed.

Later in the day, a group of armed Bedouins broke the windows of the city’s main courthouse and opened fire, inadvertently injuring an army soldier in the process. Police forces responded by firing tear gas on the demonstrators, who escaped as a result.

Earlier on Thursday night, tens of Bedouins had blocked the Sinai highway leading to and from Sharm El-Sheikh upon an unofficial announcement of results in El-Tor, the capital of the governorate.

Demonstrators from the tribes of El-Mazayna and El-Qararsha, whose candidates apparently failed to win, have been convinced the vote counting process had been manipulated.

They stressed that all members of both tribes had voted for each of their respective candidates, and therefore, did not accept the duo’s elimination.

The angry demonstrators demanded re-elections in their constituency.  

Meanwhile, independent parliament candidate in El-Tor, Abdou Mohamed, said he has been receiving unidentified threats of murder as well as kidnapping of his wife and children, if he insists on contesting in the runoffs scheduled for Tuesday 10 January.

Previously, Mohamed’s electoral headquarters in El-Tor had been set on fire by anonymous assailants.

Mohamed will be contesting for a professional seat against Mohamed Salem from the salafist Al-Nour Party. However, he ruled out the possibility that his opponent could have been party to the threats.

Unofficial election results in South Sinai revealed the list of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) has emerged victorious, while the liberal Wafd Party has finished in second place.

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