Saturday, June 16, 2018

Egypt's opposition says assailants trashed their party

CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian opposition figures said Wednesday that assailants attacked a Ramadan party they hosted in Cairo, pelting them with plates and water bottles while chanting "long live Egypt!" the slogan of supporters of President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi.

The outdoor iftar, a feast marking the end of the daily dawn-to-dusk fast during the holy month, was hosted by the Civil Democratic Movement, a coalition of secular and left-leaning parties that had called for a boycott of Egypt's March presidential election. El-Sissi won a second term after several potentially strong candidates were arrested or pressured into withdrawing.

Members of the opposition group said several people were lightly wounded, and posted pictures online showing overturned tables and food strewn across the ground. Khaled Dawoud, leader of the opposition Constitution Party, who attended the gathering, said around 10 people sitting at a separate table attacked the iftar.

Mohammed Zaree, a prominent human rights lawyer who also attended, told The Associated Press the attack appeared planned, since power at the social club went out as soon as the attack began and was restored after the attackers left and police arrived at the scene an hour later.

Zaree said most of the 70 guests at the iftar were chased out of the club by the attackers, who screamed "spies" and "traitors" while punching and kicking them.

Rights activists say Egyptian authorities have a long history of recruiting plainclothes thugs to attack protesters and opposition figures, a practice that allows officials to later deny involvement.

El-Sissi has overseen an unprecedented crackdown on dissent, jailing thousands of critics. He has also rolled back freedoms gained in the wake of the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak, placing draconian restrictions on rights groups, banning unauthorized demonstrations and blocking dozens of independents news websites.

The government stepped up the crackdown in recent weeks, arresting several high-profile bloggers and activists.

El-Sissi defended the conduct of the election in an address to another iftar party Tuesday night, saying the turnout showed that Egyptians "have a strong will which will prevail over everyone."

"No one can cast doubt on any activity, operation or measure during the election," he added.

The vote was staggered over three days in an apparent bid to boost turnout, which was around 41 percent. Critics say the government threatened disciplinary action if state employees didn't vote, and used food and money to lure others to the polls. The government has denied any wrongdoing.

El-Sissi's sole opponent was a little-known politician who expressed support for the president and made no effort to campaign against him.

Comments
A fentanyl death. A crackdown on opioid dealers. Will it help?

A fentanyl death. A crackdown on opioid dealers. Will it help?

TAMPA — Loueita Hargens had known for years how her son Bradley Dykes would die. She had seen him cycle through drugs of choice, had lost track of the number of times he’d wound up in the hospital or prison.A recovering alcoholic herself, she cut him...
Updated: 29 minutes ago
Rays lose again to Yankees, this time 4-1

Rays lose again to Yankees, this time 4-1

NEW YORK – The Rays had their problems against the Yankees again Saturday, losing 4-1.This one was pretty much a lost cause all the way around, as they didn't pitch well, didn't hit much until the ninth and didn't look good in the field.The res...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Rains from Tropical Storm Carlotta pound Mexico's coast

Heavy rains from Tropical Storm Carlotta pounded Mexico's Pacific coast southeast of Acapulco ahead of its expected landfall late Saturday or early Sunday
Updated: 1 hour ago

Congressman: Youth shelter reflects flawed immigration plan

A Republican congressman from Texas who has toured a tent-like shelter for hundreds of minors who entered the country illegally says the facility is a byproduct of a flawed immigration strategy
Updated: 1 hour ago
Neil Gaiman, Amanda Palmer lead New York's Mermaid Parade

Neil Gaiman, Amanda Palmer lead New York's Mermaid Parade

Writer Neil Gaiman and his musician wife Amanda Palmer are reigning over a sun-soaked edition of New York City's zany Mermaid Parade
Updated: 1 hour ago
Neil Gaiman, Amanda Palmer lead New York's Mermaid Parade

Neil Gaiman, Amanda Palmer lead New York's Mermaid Parade

Writer Neil Gaiman and his musician wife Amanda Palmer are reigning over a sun-soaked edition of New York City's zany Mermaid Parade
Updated: 1 hour ago
The Latest: Croatia moves ahead of Nigeria 2-0 after penalty

The Latest: Croatia moves ahead of Nigeria 2-0 after penalty

Luka Modric has scored on a penalty kick in the 71st minute to give Croatia a 2-0 lead over Nigeria in their World Cup match
Updated: 1 hour ago

Valladolid earns promotion to Spain's Liga

Valladolid earns promotion to Spain's topflight after drawing with Numancia 1-1 and winning their playoff 4-1 on aggregate
Updated: 1 hour ago
Anti-racism group blames local officials for eviction

Anti-racism group blames local officials for eviction

A prominent group that campaigns against racism and anti-gay abuse in sports has accused St. Petersburg authorities of having it evicted from its premises in the city
Updated: 1 hour ago
Anti-racism group blames local officials for eviction

Anti-racism group blames local officials for eviction

A prominent group that campaigns against racism and anti-gay abuse in sports has accused St. Petersburg authorities of having it evicted from its premises in the city
Updated: 1 hour ago