There have been allegations of widespread electoral abuse as Egyptians turn out to vote for their upper house of parliament. Police are said to have beaten and detained independent candidates, who are standing under an Islamist umbrella organisation, The Muslim Brotherhood.
Members and supporters of Egypt’s ruling National Democratic Party are also being accused of rigging ballot boxes.
The elections are being held under a new law banning the use of religious banners and slogans in the campaign. Observers see this as an attempt to drive the Islamists out of mainstream politics. The Muslim Brotherhood, the main opposition group, is banned from fielding candidates, leading its followers to stand independently.
One Brotherhood lawyer praised a recent court decision to allow the slogan “Islam is the Solution”. Authorities had asked for candidates using the slogan to be disqualified.