Thousands Take to Tahrir

Thousands Take to Tahrir

Protesters set fire Monday to the headquarters of Egypt’s presidential candidate and ex-premier Ahmed Shafiq after the election committee said he made it into a run-off vote with an Islamist rival.

The assailants set fire to an annex of Shafiq’s headquarters in Cairo hours after election officials announced that the holdover from Hosni Mubarak’s ousted regime will face the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Mursi in the second-round election.

A police official said eight suspects were arrested near the headquarters, a villa in the middle class Dokki neighborhood, AFP reported.

Some of the protesters returned to the iconic al-Tahrir Square and threw campaign leaflets taken from Shafiq’s headquarters on to the street. Many appeared to be supporters of an unsuccessful leftwing candidate and opposed both Shafiq and Mursi.

There were no immediate reports of injuries at the headquarters and firefighters said the blaze was quickly put under control.

“We were inside when they attacked us,” one member of Shafiq’s campaign staff said, without identifying himself. “They set fire to the garage that had general Shafiq’s campaign literature.”

Earlier, several thousand protesters took to the streets across Egypt to demonstrate against the result of the election’s first round, which was officially announced on Monday. Egypt’s private al-Hayat TV reported protests in al-Tahrir Square in Cairo, in Alexandria and in Suez to protest Shafiq’s presence on the runoff ballot.

Trouble flared in Cairo’s al-Tahrir Square when activists said unknown assailants attacked one such protest. Rocks flew in scenes reminiscent of other spasms of violence during a messy transition from military rule that is due to end when the military hands power to the new president on July 1.

Local media reported the protest had been attacked by unknown “thugs”, though the account could not be independently confirmed, according to Reuters.

“Shafiq will be president when I’m dead,” read one poster on a car parked in the square, the hub of the nationwide uprising that ousted president Mubarak in February 2011.

Read the rest at Al Arabiya News 

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