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Protestors torch opposition headquarters

afrol News, 6 November - Egyptian protestors have torched headquarters of most prominent opposition politician in clashes between rival factions, eyewitnesses and police said.

Police official said seven people sustained minor injuries as rival groups threw stones and bottles at each other at downtown Cairo headquarters of al-Ghad party.

The clashes involved supporters of the party's chief Ayman Nour and his deputy Moussa Moustafa Moussa, in their ongoing dispute over who should lead the party. The dispute has been going on since September 2005.

Mr Moussa's supporters are said to have raided office when Mr Nour's supporters refused to leave the building. "We had a court ruling that gives us the right to take over the office," one Mr Moussa supporter claimed.

Police said eight supporters of Mr Nour including his wife Jameela Ismail, who is also a prominent member of the party were arrested.

A witness said protestors first attacked al-Ghad headquarters in downtown Cairo with stones and bottles. "Then some used aerosol cans to spray flames at offices, located in an old building that also houses two 19th century restaurants and shops," he said.

A prominent former lawmaker, Mr Nour who founded al-Ghad party in 2004, a year later, was arrested and sentenced to five years in prison after allegedly forging signatures on petitions to register party.

However, opposition contends he was imprisoned for running against Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in 2005 elections. At the time, president Mubarak had ruled the country unchallenged for two and a half decades.

Deputy leader Moussa Moustafa Moussa, a pro-government figure, claimed the right to succeed Mr Nour at the party helm, and right to take over party headquarters and newspaper. He recently won a court order to take over al-Ghad headquarters.

The violence was latest infighting in the opposition al-Ghad party, bitterly divided between supporters of jailed dissident Ayman Nour and those who back a pro-government leader.

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