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Hundreds of Islamists hurled stones at secular opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei as he went to cast his ballot in a referendum in Egypt’s capital on Saturday, an AFP reporter said.

“We don’t want you,” they shouted, forcing the former UN nuclear watchdog chief to retreat to his car and leave, but not before being hit by at least one stone in the back and drenched with water.

ElBaradei is widely respected on the world stage for his work as an international diplomat, but under the ousted regime of Hosni Mubarak, he came under repeated criticism for his frequent trips abroad.

He was also accused of being out of touch with the reality of Egyptian life.

Mohamed ElBaradei (C), former Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, leaves a polling station where he wanted to cast his vote for a constitution referendum in Cairo March 19, 2011. A crowd of people blocked ElBaradei from entering the polling station in Cairo on Saturday to cast his vote, shoving him and smashing his car window with rocks as he left.

ElBaradei went to vote in Saturday’s referendum on constitutional reform after returning from a speaking engagement in New Delhi sponsored by a leading Indian English-language newspaper.

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