Violence flares after Egypt poll results
The attack on Ahmed Shafiq’s office came just hours after the country’s election commission announced that he would face the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate, Mohammed Morsi, in a June 16-17, 2012 runoff.
The second round pitting Mr. Shafiq, who was ousted President Hosni Mubarak’s last Prime Minister, against Mr. Morsi, backed by the country’s most powerful Islamist movement, is a nightmare scenario for the thousands of Egyptians who took to the streets last year to demand regime change, freedom and social equality.
Many of the so-called revolutionaries say they want neither a return to the old regime nor religious rule.
"The choice can’t be between a religious state and an autocratic state. Then we have done nothing,” said Ahmed Bassiouni, 35, who was sitting in Cairo’s downtown Tahrir Square in the midst of a growing protest.
In an upscale neighbourhood of Cairo, mobs of young men used bricks to smash the windows of Mr. Shafiq’s headquarters, tossing out campaign signs and tearing up his posters. Then they set fire to the building. There were no reports of injuries. Police arrested eight people.
Mr. Shafiq, also a former air force commander, was forced out of office as Prime Minister by protesters shortly after Mr. Mubarak’s fall. He has since presented himself as a figure who can restore calm to a country wracked by 15 months of sometimes violent protests and deterioration in internal security. He has expressed a zero-tolerance attitude toward protests, reflecting his background in the military and in the former regime, which put down protests with brutal force and jailed opponents.