Mursi enhances military powers ahead of Egypt constitutional referendum

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Mursi enhances military powers ahead of Egypt constitutional referendum

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Egypt’s military is once again playing a more active role since handing over power in June, with President Mohammed Mursi giving them the authority to arrest civilians.

The military has been told to coordinate with police in order to keep the peace during the country’s constitutional referendum, due to take place on Saturday.

The draft referendum has sparked days of protests. Demonstrators complain the proposed referendum, which was largely put together by Mursi’s Islamist allies, undermines human rights, the rights of women and religious minorities, and curtails the independence of the judiciary.

Protesters are also unsatisfied with the president’s latest declaration, reversing the wide-ranging powers Mursi gave himself.

From outside the presidential palace in Cairo, protester Hesham Ezat said: “The new constitutional declaration cancelled the first one, but at the same time, it contained the same statements as the previous one. He is playing with us and trying to gain time until the referendum.”

Mursi is being accused of already using the powers to push through the draft constitution.

Protesters may be even angrier about the military getting more powers – no matter how temporary.