The Obama administration is raising serious questions about the fairness of Egypt’s weekend parliamentary elections, saying it is disappointed by reports of voter intimidation, arrests of opposition supporters and a ban on independent vote monitors in the close U.S. ally.

In a statement on Monday, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said the Egyptian people would not have confidence in their elections until the government allows opposition candidates to campaign freely and permits observers from domestic and foreign democracy groups to inspect the polls.

Earlier, protesters set fire to cars, tires and two polling stations and clashed with police firing tear gas in riots that erupted around Egypt over allegations the ruling party carried out widespread fraud to sweep the elections.

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