Islamists hurled stones and shoes at Mohamed ElBaradei, Nobel Peace laureate and a secular contender for Egypt's presidency, as he tried to vote Saturday in a referendum on constitutional amendments.
ElBaradei was hit in the back by a stone thrown from the crowd of hundreds but managed to escape unhurt and slammed as "irresponsible" the holding of a referendum without adequate law and order.
"We don't want you," the mob shouted, throwing stones, shoes and water at the former UN nuclear watchdog chief as he turned up at a Cairo polling station, five weeks after president Hosni Mubarak was ousted by mass protests.
"He lives in the United States and wants to rule us. It's out of the question," one of them said.
"We don't want an American agent," said another.
ElBaradei beat a retreat to his car and left without voting at the polling station in Muqattam, a largely poor district in south Cairo.
"Went 2 vote w family attacked by organized thugs. Car smashed w rocks. Holding referendum in absence of law & order is an irresponsible act," he wrote on Twitter.
Members of the crowd interviewed by AFP before the assault identified themselves as Islamists without elaborating on their precise allegiance.
An official from the Muslim Brotherhood, the largest and most organized opposition movement, denied members of his group were involved.
Egyptian democracy. Doesn't it just fill you with pride?