By Abdel-Rahman Hussein
CAIRO: Clashes erupted in two Shubra polling stations on Sunday between supporters of National Democratic Party (NDP) candidate Fady El-Habashy and Al-Wafd candidate Ramy Lakah in the parliamentary election run-off.
In the afternoon, El-Shahid Tabbakh polling station in Mahmasha witnessed clashes between the supporters of the two candidates at the gates of the polling station, and later in the street in front of it.
The initial fight broke out when word spread that one of Lakah’s supporters was beaten inside the polling station. Many people gathered, jumped over the polling station’s fence, and proceeded to attack one another.
Plain-clothed security officers attacked the Lakah supporters, and six gunshots were fired into the air.
Daily News Egypt saw one supporter with a bleeding head, among the many other injuries that were reported to have resulted from the fighting.
One of Lakah’s supporters, who asked to remain anonymous, told Daily News Egypt that he wasn’t permitted inside the poll station as a representative in spite of having the required papers. This fueled the tension, but no one was beaten inside the polling station, the supporter said.
Voting in Mahmasha was reportedly marred by irregularities, where observers in El-Shahid Tabbakh polling station told Daily News Egypt that 1,400 votes were forged to benefit the NDP candidate.
Another clash broke out later at the Amr Ibn El-A’as polling station, where one gunshot was fired and supporters of Lakah were seen throwing glass bottles. The clash allegedly erupted when Lakah supporters were denied entry into the polling station to vote.
Observers also told Daily News Egypt that representatives of both of the candidates were standing in the front of the polling stations handing out money for voters to vote for their respective candidates.
In both cases, security forces arrived on the scene and ended the brawling.
Many candidates including Lakah showed up at the polling stations after the clashes.