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Elections underway with heavy security presence, arrests

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Interior ministry lists arrests of “dangerous elements” planning to disrupt elections; army declares “combat readiness”

Egyptians queue outside a polling station as a security member looks on in Cairo on May 26, 2014.   AFP PHOTO/MAHMOUD KHALED

Egyptians queue outside a polling station as a security member looks on in Cairo on May 26, 2014. AFP PHOTO/MAHMOUD KHALED

The Ministry of Interior and the armed forces released statements Sunday claiming “combat readiness” and “high morale” of soldiers and police officers tasked with securing polling stations during Monday and Tuesday’s elections.

The Ministry of Interior detailed various preparations for Egypt’s second presidential elections in as many years. Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim stressed early Monday the “need for full-force” preparedness throughout the day, which would allow for citizens to vote peacefully, creating a “a cause for optimism that we can really build a future for Egypt”.

A statement released Sunday claimed the General Directorate of Traffic had a “comprehensive security plan” which featured cars with wireless radios and policemen with bulletproof jackets, automatic weapons and “the highest level of combat training”.

The deputy security director in Alexandria and the security director in Kafr Al-Sheikh toured the cities to view preparations Sunday, meeting with officers and security forces guarding polling stations tasked with “coping with all kinds of lawlessness”.

The Kafr Al-Sheikh security directorate also hosted a marksmanship contest to showcase the combat readiness of its officers.

At least 10 arrests were made early on the first day of voting as a number of Muslim Brotherhood affiliated protesters in Alexandria called for a boycott of the elections and voiced opposition to what it has called “blood elections”.

The interior ministry has called such attempts to prevent or discourage Egyptians from voting “messages originating from parties hostile to Egypt and the Egyptians” desiring to “abort the electoral process and strike fear in the hearts of the Egyptians”.

The army meanwhile released a number of statements detailing various security preparations. General Sedki Sohbi, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, noted the “high morale”, “manoeuvrability and agility” of soldiers tasked with keeping the peace during the Monday and Tuesday’s elections.

Sohbi said that the armed forces were “a shield for the people that believe” in the democratic process. Sohbi made his comments while observing units charged with protecting the merely 54 million Egyptians eligible to vote in the 2014 elections.


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