Security forces stepped up their presence outside polling stations Wednesday for the third round of People’s Assembly elections, after monitors said supporters of various candidates seemed likely to clash. Monitors said the increase in security presence began last night and continued into Wednesday.
Polling stations in nine governorates opened at 8 am for the second day in the final round of voting. The nine governorates included in this round are Qalyubiya, Gharbiya, Daqahlia, North Sinai, South Sinai, Minya, Matrouh, Qena and New Valley.
Police and military officials made several statements about the heightened security measures taken after fighting and bickering took place outside polling stations in Daqahlia and Qena governorates. Security forces also prevented clashes between Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) and Nour Party supporters at polling stations in Daqahlia.
Volunteer activists from the “Participate and Monitor” campaignwere also prevented from entering some polling stations.
Campaigning efforts intensified at noon Wednesday, leading to fights that broke out when some candidate supporters tried to prevent rival supporters from campaigning and attracting voters. Security forces then stepped in to halt the clashes before they escalated.
Eyewitnesses have reported many voting irregularities nationwide. In the electoral constituency of Maghagha in Upper Egypt, clashes erupted between supporters of an FJP candidate and his independent rival, leading to the injury of one person. Eyewitnesses say the supporters were firing live ammunition in the air.
In a statement, the FJP’s election operations room said the party called on judges overseeing the election in some polling stations in Nagaa Hamadi, a city in Upper Egypt, to cancel voting at one polling station.