Egypt Islamists, cops clash ahead of vote results

2014-01-18 08:00
Election workers count ballots ticked

Election workers count ballots ticked

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cairo - Official results are due on Saturday of an Egyptian referendum billed as a popular endorsement of president Mohammed Morsi's overthrow, with tensions high following deadly clashes between his Islamist supporters and police.

At least three people were killed in the clashes on Friday, as Morsi supporters faced off with tear gas- firing police in several cities, security officials said.

The interim authorities trumpeted the Tuesday-Wednesday poll as a chance for voters to show their support for the army's overthrow in July, after massive street protests, of Egypt's first freely elected president.

Flagship state-owned daily Al-Ahram hailed a 98 percent vote in support of the new charter drafted to replace the Islamist-inspired one adopted under Morsi in 2012.

The Islamists, who boycotted the vote, described it as a farce and predicted it would culminate in the sort of massive electoral fraud that characterised Hosni Mubarak's three-decade rule, ended by the Arab Spring uprising of 2011.

A coalition led by Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood called for further protests.

Two men were killed in Cairo and another in clashes in Fayoum, southwest of the capital Friday, the health ministry said, as police clamped down in what has become a weekly ritual in a massive crackdown on pro-Morsi protests.

In Cairo's Alf Maskan area, demonstrators aimed fire works at police, who scattered for cover when they heard bursts of automatic gunfire from the protesters' side. A policeman fired an assault rifle in the protesters' direction.

The interior ministry said police arrested 123 suspected protesters in Cairo and other cities.

The government hoped that a large turnout among Egypt's 53 million registered voters would bolster its democratic credentials and further marginalise the Islamists.

Preliminary tallies reported by state news agency MENA suggested turnout had reached 39 percent in most provinces, sharply up on 33 percent registered in the Morsi-era referendum just over a year ago.

Army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the man who toppled Morsi, was closely monitoring the turnout as an indicator of support for a presidential bid later this year, military officials said.

'Fools' celebrations'

The government said the vote showed support for Morsi's overthrow.

"This was also a referendum on June 30," said government spokesperson Hany Salah, referring to the day when millions of protesters took to the streets demanding that the president resign.

The run-up to the vote was marred by arrests of activists who campaigned against the constitution.

"There was no real opportunity for those opposed to the government's roadmap or the proposed constitution to dissent," said monitoring group Democracy International, which observed the referendum.

The group said its monitors witnessed security forces and campaigning material inside polling stations, but there was "no evidence that such problems substantially affected the outcome of this referendum."

The government will still have to contend with near daily protests and a militant campaign in the restive Sinai that has killed scores of policemen and soldiers.

For the second time in a month, suspected militants in the restive peninsula blew up Friday a gas pipeline that feeds into an industrial zone.

The Islamist opposition scorned the figures put out by state media and called for mass demonstrations on January 25 -- the third anniversary of Mubarak's overthrow.

"Let the putschists deceive themselves and hold fools' celebrations," it said, claiming the referendum was a throwback to rigged elections under Mubarak.

The US administration is closely watching the results of Egypt's referendum, but has not yet decided whether to unfreeze some $1.5 bn in aid, the state department said on Thursday.

Washington suspended part of its aid - the bulk of it military - in October, angered that there had been little indication of a return to democracy after Morsi's overthrow.

"There are a range of factors we look to," State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said in Washington, adding that merely holding the referendum was not enough.

The vote has put the Islamists on the back foot, and gives the government even less incentive to negotiate with the Muslim Brotherhood, which it has designated as a "terrorist" group.

Morsi himself has been in custody since his ouster and is currently standing trial in the first of three separate cases against him.

Read more on:    mohammed morsi  |  egypt  |  north africa  |  egypt crisis
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Health
 

LOL! Best outdoor girl fails

It’s not only guys who have FAIL moments! Here are some of the funniest outdoor fails where girls are the victims!

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

90-year-old's incredible travels
10 facts about swimming you didn't know
Halloween night run
Exciting new zipline for Cape Town!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to R2100 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Hot offer: Up to 50% off irons

Save up to 50% on all Philips irons. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There may be some tension that is caused through social conflicts -- personal interests versus obligations. You may feel an...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.