CAIRO (Reuters) – A crowd of people blocked Mohamed ElBaradei from entering a polling station in Cairo on Saturday to cast a vote in Egypt’s constitutional referendum, shoving him and smashing his car window with rocks as he left.
“We don’t want you, we don’t want you,” a crowd of youths chanted at ElBaradei, who has said he wants to run for president.
He was shoved after joining a queue of people seeking to vote. He then returned to his car and stones were hurled.
ElBaradei, a retired United Nations diplomat turned activist, had led an opposition movement in 2010 calling for reform and an end to Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule.
The Egyptian president quit and handed power to the army on February 11 after mass protests.
“I went to vote with my family and I was attacked by organized thugs holding referendum in absence of law and order is an irresponsible act,” Elbaradei said onTwitter.
“Top figures of Mubarak’s regime still at large and undermining the revolution.”
Scenes of violence were common during voting when Mubarak was in power and elections were routinely rigged, but Saturday’s voting was smooth and calm.
“This is a travesty. That people would stop anyone from voting at the first election we hoped to be free and fair in Egyptian history,” said Nadine Wahab, a deputy campaign manager for ElBaradei who witnessed the incident.
Another witness, Sameh Fathi, 25, said he believed members of former ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) were behind the violence.
“They are obviously NDP, they came out of nowhere, they were not in line to vote and started chanting ‘we don’t want you’ in unison…it looks like it was coordinated,” Fathi said.
Other bystanders said they saw dozens of young thugs involved.
ElBaradei supporters said he would cast his vote at an unspecified location, rather than declaring where he would vote to the media as he had originally done.
(Reporting by Marwa Awad; Writing by Edmund Blair and Sarah Mikhail; Editing by Sophie Hares)
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