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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Egyptian Voters Impeded In Opposition Strongholds - washingtonpost.com

Egyptian Voters Impeded In Opposition Strongholds - washingtonpost.com: "Egyptian Voters Impeded In Opposition Strongholds

By Ellen Knickmeyer
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, June 12, 2007; A18

AWSEEM, Egypt -- Egyptian security forces barred voters from entering polling centers in opposition areas Monday during the first national elections since the U.S.-backed government of President Hosni Mubarak pushed through constitutional changes that analysts say were intended to keep the Muslim Brotherhood from power.

In Awseem, a dusty town north of Cairo that is a Brotherhood stronghold, security officers lined up behind chest-high plastic riot shields to block all entrances to a locked polling place. Officers clenching automatic rifles alongside a row of police wagons effectively sealed off another voting site.

Residents in other towns around Egypt on Monday complained of police turning them from the polls and occasionally beating them. One person was killed in election-related violence, the Associated Press reported.

In areas loyal to Mubarak's National Democratic Party, voters surged into polling sites. In Bortos, also north of Cairo, a girl of 15 said she cast a ballot for the NDP, and children who appeared much younger than the voting age of 18 waved fingers stained with the pink ink used to mark ballots and boasted that they had voted.

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