Mubarak's outrages worsen. From the AP:
Police barricaded polling stations and fired tear gas and rubber bullets Wednesday to keep supporters of the banned Muslim Brotherhood from voting in the final day of parliamentary elections. At least eight people were killed, including a 14-year-old boy.Last week, I noted that President Bush, the State Department and the usual crew of pundits and bloggers on the Right have been conspicuously silent about this but quick to trumpet far less serious electoral problems in Iran. This last round of violence is apparently too much for at least the State Department to countenance. Yesterday, spokesman Adam Ereli said the following:
The last day of the vote, which stretched over a month, was by far the most violent. A total of at least 10 people have been killed during the three rounds of balloting, which began on November 9 and are considered a key test of President Hosni Mubarak's pledge to open up the nation's autocratic political system.
Hundreds have been wounded and more than 1,000 arrested, mainly supporters of the fundamentalist Brotherhood, which -- while banned -- has fielded candidates as independents.
Government supporters in Zagazig, a Nile Delta city 80 kilometers (50 miles) northeast of Cairo, were brought to polling stations in an armored police vehicle. They emerged armed with machetes and pushed back voters who were trying to break through police lines to get into polling stations.
Fourteen-year-old Mohammed Karam el-Taher was killed when police fired at demonstrators in Qattawiya, a Nile Delta village in el-Sharqiya province not far from Zagazig. A 22-year-old man also died in the village of gunshot wounds to the head, according to police, while another man was killed elsewhere in the province.
Three men were shot and killed in the northern town of Damietta, where police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at crowds outside polling stations, according to Dr. Mohammed Balboula of Damietta Public Hospital and the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights.
Two men died of gunshot wounds in the Matariya hospital in Dakahliya province, also in the Nile Delta, according to a doctor and police.
But Associated Press reporters in Zagazig and Sohag, 385 kilometers (240 miles) south of the capital, saw security forces blocking voters from reaching the polls and attacking voters.
In Sohag, about 400 voters waited outside the Mohammed Farid School polling station but were blocked from entering by lines of police.
"They say the school is closed. They want to allow only NDP supporters to vote here. I'm very upset. This injustice must stop," greengrocer Abdel Moneim, 55, said.
We've seen a number of developments over the past couple weeks during the parliamentary elections that raise serious concerns about the path of political reform in Egypt. Clearly these actions send the wrong signal about Egypt's commitment to democracy and freedom.Condi Rice has done an excellent job of pressuring Mubarak behind the scenes. But his true colors have been on display with this thuggery, and it's obvious we need to push harder. The next step should be for Condi herself to be far more public on this instead of leaving it to a spokesman to read a statement. As for the White House, I guess we shouldn't hold our breath, right?