Press Esc to close
Friday 22 September 2017
News updated at 3:56 AM IST

Violence returns in Egypt on eve of final round of referendum

Cairo, Dec 21, 2012 (PTI) 20:00 IST
Violent clashes today returned to the streets of Egypt as Islamist supporters and largely secular opponents of a controversial draft constitution hurled stones at each other, a day before the final round of a referendum on the new charter.

Several thousand demonstrators backing President Muhammed Mursi gathered in northern port city of Alexandria's Qaed Ibrahim Mosque for Friday prayers to "defend (Islamic) scholars and mosques", and to call for Sharia (Islamic law).

The rally, which was initially peaceful, turned violent when clashes broke out between Islamist demonstrators and rival opposition group. Clashes seem to have been kicked off after opposition protesters picked a fight with one of the Islamist demonstrators, Egyptian media reported.

Security forces, who were heavily deployed early today near the rallying point as a pre-emptive measure against possible violence, worked to restore order and fired rounds of teargas into the crowds. According to Egyptian newspaper 'Al-Ahram', tens of fire engines and ambulances are also situated in the area.

"The people want the implementation of God's Sharia," the crowds say, "we sacrifice our soul and our blood for Islam." The protest comes after iconic Alexandria Sheikh Ahmed El-Mahalawy was held captive inside the mosque for 14 hours last Friday by worshippers angered by the overt Islamist rhetoric in his sermon.

El-Mahalawy demanded worshippers seek the implementation of Sharia (Islamic law) ahead of the referendum's first round, which was regarded as a call to vote 'Yes' for the charter.

Over 20 people were injured last Friday in the ensuing confrontations and a few vehicles were set alight. The first round of referendum last week saw almost 44 per cent of Egyptians saying 'No' to the constitution drafted by an Islamist-dominated Constituent Assembly, with a second round set for tomorrow.

Egypt's Constituent Assembly on November 30 in a marathon session approved the draft constitution imposing Islamic values, a move opposed by Liberals as an attempt to restrict freedom of speech and religion in the country. The articles passed, stipulated that Islam is the religion of the state, and the principles of Sharia, or Islamic law, are the "main source of legislation".

Meanwhile, last-minute campaigning was taking place ahead of the final round of plebiscite tomorrow. Yesterday, Egypt's top election official overseeing the referendum resigned citing health reasons, amid widespread allegations of irregularities and rigging.

A number of rights groups and opposition parties had filed complaints of violations during the first round of the vote. They complained that at several places a vote was held without a judge overseeing it and at several places judges were replaced by employees.

Egypt's Justice Ministry has ordered an investigation into the allegations. Many judges had also boycotted overseeing the referendum, in protest against President Mursi's action of "abduction" of the Supreme Constitutional Court.

Go to Top

Photo Gallery
Vehicles wade through a flooded road after heavy rains in Thane district of Maharashtra on...

Vehicles wade through a flooded road after heavy rains in Thane district of Maharashtra on...

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo closes his eyes during Spanish the La Liga soccer match between...

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo closes his eyes during Spanish the La Liga soccer match between...

A woman covers herself with a plastic bag as she makes her way to work as Hurricane Maria...

A woman covers herself with a plastic bag as she makes her way to work as Hurricane Maria...

An artisan applies finishing touches on an idol of the Hindu goddess Durga, before it is...

An artisan applies finishing touches on an idol of the Hindu goddess Durga, before it is...

Bollywood actress Nidhhi Agerwal showcases a creation by designer Rajat K Tangri during the...

Bollywood actress Nidhhi Agerwal showcases a creation by designer Rajat K Tangri during the...

People pushing a car at a waterlogged road after heavy rains in Varanasi on Thursday...

People pushing a car at a waterlogged road after heavy rains in Varanasi on Thursday...

Policemen guard outside former chief minister S M Krishna's son in-law Siddartha's corporate ...

Policemen guard outside former chief minister S M Krishna's son in-law Siddartha's corporate ...

Indian players celebrate the dismissal of Australia's David Warner...

Indian players celebrate the dismissal of Australia's David Warner...

Actor Kamal Haasan with Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal...

Actor Kamal Haasan with Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal...

A man is rescued from a collapsed building in the Condesa neighborhood of Mexico City after an...

A man is rescued from a collapsed building in the Condesa neighborhood of Mexico City after an...

Like us on Facebook

Copyright 2017, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bengaluru - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523
Powered by Yodasoft Technologies Pvt. Ltd.