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Death toll rises to 11 overnight following bloody afternoon

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Death toll raised by five, with numerous arrests and injuries reported across the country

Egyptian Muslim brotherhood supporters throw stones at voters outside a polling station during the vote on a new constitution on January 14, 2014 in al-Ayaat village at Giza. Egyptians queued to vote on a new constitution amid high security, in a referendum likely to launch a presidential bid by the army chief who overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.  (AFP PHOTO / KHALED KAMEL)

Egyptian Muslim brotherhood supporters throw stones at voters outside a polling station during the vote on a new constitution on January 14, 2014 in al-Ayaat village at Giza.
(AFP PHOTO / KHALED KAMEL)

The final death toll from the first day of the national referendum rose to 11 overnight, according to a fellow at Human Rights Watch. The violence was centred in Giza and Sohag, which lies roughly 400 km south of the capital.

Four of the total deaths occurred in Sohag when supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood clashed with security forces guarding polling stations in the Upper Egyptian city. Images from the clashes broadcast on television showed groups of men frantically carrying bleeding bodies to safety.

Ministry of Interior spokesperson Hany Abdel Latif said the fatalities in Sohag were killed by armed “Muslim Brotherhood members”, and that the victims were local residents and security forces.

Three of the deaths occurred in Giza. Mada Masr reported the latest fatality was due to a gunshot wound in clashes between Muslim Brotherhood supporters and security forces.

The first fatality of the day was the only in Beni Suef, where a man was shot with live ammunition. The Ministry of Interior media centre told Daily News Egypt yesterday: “Around 150 armed Muslim Brotherhood members assembled in front of the polling station in Nasser district in Beni Suef and tried to stop voters from casting their votes, so police forces intervened.”

Mahmoud Sayed, designated as a “Muslim Brotherhood” member by the interior ministry, was killed in the aftermath.

Three more died of “natural causes” in Cairo and Giza, according to state-owned Al-Ahram, although it is unclear what those causes were.

Ministry of Health spokesman Dr Mohamed Fathallah declined to comment on yesterday’s fatalities, although the ministry had already issued a statement saying 8 had been killed between 9am and 5pm on Tuesday.

MENA reported that Cairo police made 46 arrests for inciting riots or obstructing the vote. Various other arrests were reported throughout the country, most involving protesters chanting against the referendum.

The Ministry of Interior media centre said that 249 were arrested nationwide.

The day before the referendum, two MBC-Masr journalists, Houzaifa Seddiq and Ahmed El-Fiki, were arrested for having posters that urged a No vote on the referendum. El-Fiki was released after an investigation, while prosecution ordered Seddiq’s detention for 15 days, Mada Masr reported.

A bomb also struck an Imbaba courthouse roughly an hour and a half before polls opened. There were no casualties, and polls a mere 150 metres from the site of the explosion were crowded until midday Tuesday.

Polls are open from 9am to 9pm Wednesday, the last scheduled day for the referendum.

 

Additional reporting by Fady Ashraf, AbdelHalim AbdAllah, and Hend Kortam.


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