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Violence erupts as Egyptians vote on reforms

[JURIST] Activists calling for a boycott of the government-supported referendum [JURIST report] on constitutional changes to clear the way for multi-candidate presidential elections in Egypt were beaten and arrested by policemen and supporters of President Hosni Mubarak [official website] on Wednesday. The demonstrators say the referendum offers no real democratic changes and instead insures that Mubarak will not face any serious challengers, allowing the National Democratic Party [official website] to maintain its tight control in Egypt. In some instances during the protests, members of the anti-Mubarak movement Kifaya [Wikipedia entry] were beaten by pro-Mubarak gangs as police withdrew their forces to allow the attacks to continue. The referendum, expected to receive the necessary 51% of votes, will lay out the rules for the upcoming September elections. AP has more.

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