Violence flares in Cairo as Egyptians vote

Sat Dec 15, 2012 5:19pm EST
 

By Tamim Elyan and Yasmine Saleh

CAIRO (Reuters) - Islamists attacked the offices of an Egyptian opposition party newspaper on Saturday, security sources said, as people voted on a new constitution intended to pull the country out of a growing political crisis.

The newspaper of the Wafd party in Cairo was targeted with petrol bombs and birdshot, the sources said, in the latest of a series of violent incidents surrounding a divisive referendum designed to pave the way to national elections next year.

The attack came as officials began counting votes after polling stations closed at 11 p.m. (1600 ET).

Official results will not come until after a second round of voting in remaining areas of the country next Saturday, but conflicting claims were already emerging from the rival camps.

A spokesman for the opposition National Salvation Front said it had indications that 60-65 percent of voters in Cairo and other cities had rejected the new constitution, while President Mohamed Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood allies said that after 1 million votes had been counted, 72.5 percent were in favor.

Mostafa Shafik, managing editor at Wafd's newspaper, which is located next to the party headquarters, said his offices had been damaged.

"The attackers used Molotov cocktails to enter, which left minor areas burned," he said.

A Reuters photographer saw a dozen or so cars damaged inside the Wafd headquarters' grounds, their windows broken. Glass was also broken in the headquarters, but he saw no immediate signs of fire damage. Two people appeared to have been injured.   Continued...

 
An elderly woman (C) sits as she queues outside a polling center to vote during a referendum on Egypt's new constitution in Cairo December 15, 2012. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah