Egypt’s opposition calls for more protests


Coalition of opposition parties calls for demonstrations against President Morsi’s plans for vote on draft constitution
Egypt’s opposition has called for more protests against President Mohamed Morsi after rejecting his plans for a constitutional referendum later this week on a disputed draft constitution.

“The National Salvation Front announces its total rejection of the referendum and will not legitimise this referendum which will definitely lead to more strife,” Sameh Ashour, who spoke on behalf of the coalition of opposition parties, said on Sunday.

“The Front invites Egypt’s great people to protest peacefully in various liberation squares in the capital this coming Tuesday to show dissatisfaction at the president’s disregard of the people’s demands and in refusal of the constitution that infringes on rights and freedoms.”

Morsi’s decision on Saturday to retract a decree awarding himself wide powers failed to placate opponents who accused him of plunging Egypt deeper into crisis by refusing to postpone the vote on the constitution scheduled for December 15.
“We are against this process from start to finish,” Hussein Abdel Ghani, spokesman of the National Salvation Front, said.

The Egyptian president insists on holding the referendum on schedule.

The opposition has repeatedly said that the constitution, drafted by a Muslim Brotherhood-led constituent assembly, disregards the rights of women and ignores personal freedoms.

“I cannot imagine that after all this they want to pass a constitution that does not represent all Egyptians,” Ahmed Said, another member of the National Salvation Front coalition and the head of the liberal Free Egyptians Party, said.

Military to maintain security

The Egyptian president has issued a decree, ordering the military to maintain security and protect state institutions until the results of the referendum are announced.

From our correspondent Sherine Tadros in Cairo

It’s a new law issued by the president that orders the military to protect public buildings and gives them power to arrest, until the results of the constitution are announced.

This is in anticipation of more violence in the run-up to the referendum.

It is not about going back to military rule … it’s a practical move to maintain order.

It does once again raise concerns because the military are unaccountable when they arrest etc, but remember this is a temporary move.

“The armed forces must support the police service in complete cooperation in order to preserve security and protect vital state institutions for a temporary period, up to the announcement of the results from the referendum on the constitution,” the decree, which appeared in the government’s official gazette under “Law 107”, says.

The Muslim Brotherhood and its political wing Freedom and Justice party, as well as Salafist political parties, have urged the opposition to accept the referendum’s verdict.

Mahmud Ghozlan, a Brotherhood spokesman, said a coalition called the Alliance of Islamist Forces have also called for a demonstration on Tuesday under the slogan “Yes to legitimacy” in support of the referendum.

The rival rallies in the capital Cairo raise the potential for clashes such as those that erupted last Wednesday, killing seven people and wounding hundreds.

The referendum has deeply polarised Egypt and sparked some of the bloodiest clashes between Morsi supporters and opponents since he came to power in June.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies

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