< /head > Colorado Coalition for Human Rights: Egyptian Security Forces Attack Voters in Final Round of Parliamentary Elections

Friday, December 09, 2005

Egyptian Security Forces Attack Voters in Final Round of Parliamentary Elections

Excerpts from this sad news story from the New York Times:

Egypt's last round of parliamentary elections ended with eight people dead - including one young man with three bullets in his head, two other men with bullets in their heads - and dozens more with the blunt force injuries that come when rubber-coated bullets and buckshot slam into body parts.

After the banned Muslim Brotherhood began whittling away at the governing party's monopoly on power, police officers in riot gear and others in plainclothes and armed civilians working for the police began blocking polling stations, preventing supporters of the Brotherhood from casting their votes.

Egyptian authorities insist they did not shoot with live ammunition and say security forces were out only to safeguard polling stations.

"There are people who were shot by live ammunition," said a high-ranking Interior Ministry official who asked not to be identified, because he was not authorized to speak publicly. "This is not the security forces that shot them because the Interior Ministry security forces can use tear gas, water pressure and at most rubber bullets if they have to. They do not have live ammunition."

But there are many witnesses, including Western diplomats, rights organizations, doctors, the wounded themselves and people who live here, who say otherwise. They said they had seen police officers open fire on men, women and children with live ammunition, in addition to tear gas and rubber-coated bullets, and held up spent cartridges as proof.

"We know that it is the government who hit him," said Muhammad Saad Muhammad Mehdi, 19, as he stood over the lifeless body of his cousin Muhammad Ahmed Muhammad and a respirator clicked away in Zagazig University Hospital.

Click here to read the full article.
-- JB


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