Egyptians voted on Wednesday in the first stage of legislative elections expected to make only minor inroads in the domination of parliament by President Hosni Mubarak's National Democratic Party (NDP).
Some voters and witnesses reported skirmishes and electoral abuses in the first few hours after polls opened at 8 a.m. (6:00 a.m. British time), but others saw an improvement in the political climate.
The overall level of violence appeared lower than in previous elections.
In the south Cairo suburb of Maadi, NDP supporters scared away voters until security forces arrived, witnesses said.
Baby steps, but baby steps are still steps and these elections seem very signifigant because of that. This isn't a Ukraine style revolution, but it is a powerful sign that democracy is advancing in the middle east.