Moussa sticks to presidential bid after clashes at campaign event

Presidential hopeful Amr Moussa vowed to continue his campaign Monday after a Sharqiya campaign rally was canceled when clashes erupted between some of his supporters and young men saying they belonged to the 25 January Revolution Youth Coalition.

The fights broke out when Moussa started to talk about his electoral platform at the Sharqiya Sports Club after giving a welcome speech.

The youth coalition members accused Moussa of being one of the followers of the ousted Mubarak regime and raised banners saying “No to old faces” and “Amr Moussa is in the arms of the National Democratic Party,” according to state-run news agency MENA.

When Moussa supporters chanted for him, the situation escalated into violence, with chairs and empty bottles used as weapons. The conference organizers canceled the conference after the fighting began.

MENA reported that the armed forces and police then arrived and ordered the crowd to leave, allowing Moussa and his supporters to exit safely.

Afterward, Moussa accused organizations and political movements that he didn’t name of planning the incident as part of a larger scheme to incite chaos in Egypt. He said thugs used knives and other weapons to attack his supporters, relating the incident to last week’s highway attack on presidential hopeful Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh.

In phone interviews with the privately owned CBC and Dream satellite channels, Moussa said he will continue his presidential campaign and not be intimidated by any attack. He demanded that the government protect presidential candidates and prevent any acts of sabotage, and said he will use personal guards in the future.

Moussa’s campaign organizers released a statement Monday that said a group of “thugs” attempted to assault them in the venue. The organizers said the attackers had been caught on video attempting to damage the facility after club workers denied them entry because they had no identification cards.

Twelve campaign members were injured and taken to the hospital for treatment, the statement added.

Sharqiya Security Director General Mohamed Nasr al-Antably said thugs were not involved in the clashes.

“The clashes were normal clashes between supporters and protesters, and not thugs,” state TV quoted him as saying.

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