Anti-Shafiq protesters attacked in 'To be or not be' rally

Ahram Online , Friday 1 Jun 2012

Campaign rally for Ahmed Shafiq in the southern city of Qena ends with supporters opening fire to disperse group demonstrating against the ex-Mubarak premier's run for the presidency

Clashes in Qena. (Photo: Ahram daily newspaper)

Three were injured in the southern city of Qena on Thursday when a campaign rally organised by tribal figures for presidential hopeful Ahmed Shafiq ended in clashes between supporters of the former prime minister and a group comprising revolutionaries, members of the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists.

"We went there after we found out that remnants of the old regime were conducting the event to support Shafiq," Mostafa Fouad, a member of the Revolution Youth Coalition told Al-Ahram daily newspaper.

As the anti-Shafiq demonstrators entered the event, their peaceful protest was welcomed by gunfire.

The violence saw three anti-Shafiq protesters wounded. Police forces eventually arrived at the scene and brought an end to the fighting.

On Thursday, 500 tribal leaders in Qena announced their support for Shafiq, using "to be or not to be" as their slogan.

During the presidential rally, Shafiq was described as a Sufi who loves the poor while the Muslim Brotherhood were criticised for using Islam to win political gains and not correctly observing the faith. 

It was not the first time a Shafiq presidential campaign rally witnessed violence. During the first round of the presidential elections on 23 May, Shafiq was hit with stones and shoes as he attempted to cast his vote in Cairo. At another rally in Luxor, two weeks ago, a protester hurled a shoe at him.

Shafiq is running against the Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi in the second round of elections slated for 16-17 June.

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