Egyptian protesters clash over draft charter

Print
Email
|

Associated Press

Posted on December 14, 2012 at 2:33 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 14 at 2:33 PM

CAIRO (AP) — On the eve of an Egyptian vote on a draft constitution, Islamists with swords have been fighting with opponents of that document in the city of Alexandria. At least 19 people were reported hurt.

The violence broke out after a cleric urged worshippers to vote "yes," and described the opponents of the constitution as "followers of infidels." Religious authorities had told clerics not to try to manipulate the vote, but several clerics told congregations today that voting in favor of the constitution is a way to seek victory for Islam.

Also today, thousands of Islamists filled a square in northern Cairo, raising pictures of President Mohammed Morsi. He has insisted the referendum will begin tomorrow as scheduled, despite accusations that the entire process has been rushed through by his Islamist allies.

The crisis escalated when Morsi issued a decree last month giving himself -- and the assembly writing the constitution -- immunity from judicial oversight. The document was passed several days later by an assembly composed mostly of Islamists.

It's prompted clashes between the newly-empowered Islamists and the country's liberals, supported by a large sector of moderate Muslims. The violence and harsh divisions have turned tomorrow's vote into a fight over Egypt's post-revolutionary identity.

%@AP Links

162-r-06-(Sound of supporters of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi chanting slogans, in Tahrir (tah-REER') Square)--Sound of thousands of Islamists chanting slogans as they rally in Cairo's Tahrir Square, urging voters to say 'yes' in a referendum. (14 Dec 2012)

<<CUT *162 (12/14/12)>> 00:06

161-r-09-(Sound of supporters of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi chanting slogans, in Tahrir (tah-REER') Square)--Sound of supporters of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi chanting slogans and holding banners, a day before voting starts on a contentious draft constitution. (14 Dec 2012)

<<CUT *161 (12/14/12)>> 00:09

GRAPHICSBANK: Supporter of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi chants slogans as he holds up the Quran, Islam's holy book, Cairo, Egypt, graphic element on gray (14 Dec 2012)

APPHOTO HAS114: Supporters of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi chant slogans as one holds up the Quran, Islam's hold book, during a demonstration after the Friday prayer, in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. Opposing sides in Egypt's political crisis were staging rival rallies on Friday, the final day before voting starts on a contentious draft constitution that has plunged the country into turmoil and deeply divided the nation. Arabic on the poster, left, reads, "support the president's decisions." (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar) (14 Dec 2012)

<<APPHOTO HAS114 (12/14/12)>>

APPHOTO PJO122: A protester shows his chained hands during a demonstration against a constitution drafted by Islamist supporters of President Mohammed Morsi in Tahrir square in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012. Opposing sides in Egypt's political crisis were staging rival rallies on Friday, the final day before voting starts on a contentious draft constitution that has plunged the country into turmoil and deeply divided the nation.(AP Photo/Petr David Josek) (14 Dec 2012)

<<APPHOTO PJO122 (12/14/12)>>

Print
Email
|