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Violence Overshadows Voting in Egyptian Streets
December 18, 2011

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Violence continued in Cairo, as protesters clashed with armed police over what many see as the slow pace of Egyptian reform after the stunning resignation of President Hosni Mubarak earlier this year.

Voting took place late last week in nine of the country's election divisions. Early returns suggested more gains for the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party and the Al-Nur party, both of which were the top two vote-getters in the first round of elections. 

But it was the Cairo clashes that generated the most media coverage, including video footage of police in riot gear confronting protesters hurling rocks.

Ten people have died in the clashes, and more than 500, both protesters and security forces, have been injured. The army said it had detained more than 160 people, many of whom have refused to leave the capital city's Tahrir Square, site of so many protests earlier in the year. Police went through during the weekend and burned tents of some protesters who had been camped in the square for several weeks. Among the damage was a building filled with historic archives.

Many of the protesters are unarmed, but some have handheld weapons. The army has claimed that some protesters have been making weapons that could do more damage. Both sides have traded accusations of unprovoked violence. 

A main contention of the protesters is that the ruling generals should give up control of the country before the scheduled handover, in July 2012, after the presidential election. The first of three rounds of parliamentary elections went off without violence a few weeks ago. The third round, of the remaining nine electoral divisions, is scheduled for January.



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