Protesters burn office of Egyptian presidential candidate

Cairo: A group of unruly protesters ransacked and set ablaze the campaign headquarters of Egyptian presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq in Cairo, after the Election Commission announced that Hosni Mubarak`s last prime minister made it into a run off vote with an Islamist rival.

Some 400 people arrived from the direction of Tahrir Square shouting slogans against remnants of the former regime last night. They broke into the villa in Dokki neighbourhood that houses Shafiq`s offices, stole computers and documents and threw some into the street, an eyewitness said.

The protesters also set fire to an annex of Shafiq`s office, hours after election commission announced that the second round of the historic polls is to be held between Muslim Brotherhood candidate Muhamamd Mursi and Shafiq, a former Prime Minister and also a former Air Force commander.

A secretary working at the Shafiq`s campaign offices told Egypt Independent that the campaign workers were notified to leave before the fire started. The fire was later extinguished without causing any casualties. Some suspects have been arrested, police said.

Shafiq`s supporters later gathered outside the headquarters, chanting, "Down with the Supreme Guide (of the Muslim Brotherhood)," and "The poll will show Shafiq is the President", the paper said.

Last week`s voting was Egypt`s first freely contested presidential election, which saw a turnout of 46 per cent.

Two of the defeated candidates earlier demanded a recount, citing violations, a claim rejected by the High Commission for Presidential Elections.

Commission head Farouq Sultan yesterday said that Mursi and Shafiq finished as the top two candidates, with each receiving more than five million votes.