Update: Reports of violence, irregularities in second round of voting

While the second round of People's Assembly elections have been mostly peaceful, reports of isolated violence and voting irregularities have emerged during the voting that began in nine governorates Wednesday.

Five people were injured in clashes with firearms and batons between Ghad Party and Egyptian Bloc supporters in Tal al-Zoaka village in Sohag Governorate. The military intervened to control the situation and cordoned off the nearby polling station with armored vehicles.

Supporters of two different candidates traded gunfire outside the polling station at Khaled Ibn al-Waleed School in Giza, causing it to close for two hours.

Revolution Continues Coalition candidate Yasser al-Refaei was hospitalized in intensive care with broken ribs and a head injury after military officers and police reportedly assaulted him in the city of Zagazig in Sharqiya Governorate.

Incidences of police brutality and intimidation were frequent during elections held under former President Hosni Mubarak.

Also in Sharqiya, a judge pointed a gun at candidate Essam Mohamed Arafat after engaging in an altercation with Arafat's brother, the Judges Club reported. The conflict was quickly defused.

In Nageh Hussein village in Sohag Governorate, three masked gunmen allegedly attempted to kill voter Alaa Mohamed Mostafa inside a polling station, but were stopped by the military. Official investigations suggest that the attack may have been part of a series of revenge killings between Mostafa's family and the Awlad Abdel Aal family.

Meanwhile, in Beni Suef, two people were injured in the first election violence to hit the governorate since the start of the elections. The violence began after clashes erupted between supporters of independent candidate Abul Khair al-Gamasy and Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) supporters who had distributed campaign materials outside the electoral committees.

In the Bani Harun School polling station in Beni Suef, Adl Party Secretary Walid Abdel Moneim was beaten by a number of Nour Party supporters after he objected to their campaigning outside the polling station, after which Abdel Moneim was transferred to a private hospital.

Some parliamentary candidates complained of election irregularities and accused judicial monitors of manipulating votes.

FJP supporters in the village of May in Monufiya Governorate reportedly implored voters through a mosque loudspeaker to head to polling stations early Thursday morning. The message reminded citizens that the government will impose a LE500 fine on all eligible voters who fail to show up at the polls.

FJP and Nour Party supporters were also stationed inside a mosque behind the National Awareness School in Shebien al-Koam and used laptops to provide voters with information about their polling stations.

Ahmed Mohamed Abdel Zaher, a Revolution Continues candidate in Sohag, filed a complaint against a judge, accusing him of marking voter ballots in favor of the Salafi-led Nour Party. Two judges in the same polling station filed a complaint against Abdel Zaher for photographing voters without a permit.

A Nour Party candidate in Sharqiya filed a complaint against a judge who expelled him from a polling station, claiming the judge only allowed the FJP's representative to observe voting.

Mounir Hatata, an FJP leader in Monufiya — the birthplace of former President Hosni Mubarak — accused the Nour Party of encouraging voters to choose the lantern symbol representing the Salafi party. Nour Party leader Bassem Roshdy denied this accusation, saying it was a rumor and that the FJP has done much worse.

Representatives of the Egyptian Bloc filed five complaints against both the FJP and Nour parties at the Nile School in the Waraq district, in northern Giza Governorate. The complaints said that some FJP and Nour supporters voted more than once and that more than one voter was allowed in voting booths. In addition, the representatives complained about the lack of supervising judges at polling stations and that prosecutors were working in their stead.

Voters and candidates filed complaints in Sharqiya, Beheira and Giza governorates, alleging that judges were directing voters to cast ballots for certain candidates. In some cases, election officials sent additional judges to the problematic polling stations to check on their colleagues.

Candidates also filed complaints that they found marked ballots outside the polling station at the Tree of Pears School in Giza. Officials closed the polling station after receiving the complaints. The closure of some polling stations led to altercations between voters unable to cast their ballots and security forces and judges.

Election observers and participants also reported illegal last-minute campaigning at many polling stations.

Supporters of the Salafi Nour Party campaigned for their party in the second district of Giza Governorate, which includes the Talbiya, Omraniya and Bulaq al-Dakroor districts. The supporters urged voters to cast their ballots, amid weak voter turnout in the constituency, with the exception of a number of schools.
In the Talbiya district, some schools in Kafrtohormos witnessed high voter turnout, as did the Malika area in Faisal district. There was heavy campaigning for the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party candidate Gamal al-Ashry, as well as for a number of independent candidates, such as Sayed al-Mannai, who is competing for the worker's seat.
In the Faisal area, a judge prevented a number of women wearing face veils from voting, after they refused to reveal their faces to verify their identity.
Supporters of the Kotla Party candidate Mohamed Fouad, who is competing for a seat in the professional category, accused supporters of the FJP candidate of bribing voters by distributing a large number of blankets to residents in the Abu Qatata and Zanin districts as well as on Street #10 in Bulaq al-Dakrur.

Nine party lists, and 123 candidates competing for the professional and workers seats are competing in the constituency.

Electoral committees closed on Wednesday evening free of any campaign posters after the armed forces had removed them, only to find new campaign posters in the morning.

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