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Hundreds held after Egypt rallies
Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood were arrested after clashes broke out at political rallies across the country.
Last Modified: 22 Nov 2010 20:55 GMT


Ayman Mohyeldin reports on poll monitors threatening to boycott observations if there is a lack of transparency.

Hundreds of members and supporters of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood movement have been arrested after clashes with police during campaign marches ahead of parliamentary elections.

Al Jazeera's team in Alexandria, citing Muslim Brotherhood officials, said at least 250 people were arrested and dozens more wounded during gatherings in the coastal city on Friday.

Streets were cordoned off and police reportedly used tear gas, knives and tasers on Muslim Brotherhood supporters who were seen throwing chairs and stones.

Muslim Brotherhood supporters throw bricks and other debris at police

A Muslim Brotherhood member, running as an independent candidate in the district of Mena el-Bussal in the upcoming polls, led the march in Alexandria. Supporters were heard chanting: "No, no to election fraud. Yes, yes for change" and "God is great, Islam is the solution".

Hamdy Hassan, a spokesman for the group's parliamentary bloc, said that "certainly over 100 Brotherhood supporters were detained on Friday, and from different cities".

"What happened today are not just assaults, it was more like war. Police fired at the crowds... Some people were injured," Hassan added.

Arrests were also reported in Sharkiya, Beni Suef and Gharbiya governorates near the capital, Cairo.

Police crackdown

Police have rounded up hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood members in recent weeks, with many still in custody, after the group announced plans to field candidates for the November 28 polls.

The group, which registered its candidates as independents to skirt a ban on religious parties, won one-fifth of the parliamentary seats in the last election in 2005.

Some marchers were injured in the clashes

Meanwhile, the Egyptian government has hit out at the United States for wanting to send foreign observers to monitor the elections.

Al Jazeera's Ayman Mohyeldin, reporting from Cairo, said the Egyptian foreign ministry strongly rebuked the US and other international calls to allow for observers and monitors in the upcoming elections at the end of the month.

"The ministry said any such call violates Egypt's sovereignty and meddles with its internal affairs.

"The Egyptian government is also under intense criticism both at home and abroad to allow for free and fair elections, with critics saying the political system is structured to ensure irregularities that favour the ruling majority."

The Egyptian government has denied the claims.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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