Constitutional tensions rise in Egypt

Now Reading:

Constitutional tensions rise in Egypt

Text size Aa Aa

Protesters for and against the Egyptian president are ranging themselves against each other in Cairo and Alexandria as a controversial referendum on a new constitution draws near.

Opponents of Mohamed Mursi say the vote, scheduled for Saturday is splitting the country along religious lines. Some fear attack from pro-Mursi activists.

Protester Abdel Aziz Fahmy said: “‘They’re going to do what they did last Tuesday. After the demonstrators left, they ganged up on the thousand protesters that were spending the night. But all these barricades you can see here will not stop a million revolutionaries. They will eat these stones, not demolish them, they will eat them.”

Opponents say that even if the referendum can not be delayed Egyptians should still turn out.

Mohamed Al Sharif, demonstrating outside the presidential palace, had this message for the opposition: ‘‘Do not ruin your vote. Not going to vote is a negative act and will be of no use for anything. Go down and vote, say no so the revolution can unite us, hand in hand with civil society and freedom.”

Tanks and the elite Republican Guard have encircled the presidential palace.

Anti-Mursi protesters have already seen him back down on one decree. They are hoping that no amount of barbed wire and concrete will stop him hearing their calls on the referendum.