Egypt draft constitution sparks outrage

2012-11-30 22:05


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Cairo - More than 100 000 protesters took the streets in Egypt, vowing to stop a draft constitution that Islamist allies of President Mohammed Morsi approved early on Friday in a rushed, all-night session without the participation of liberals and Christians.

Anger at Morsi even spilled over into a mosque where the Islamist president joined weekly Friday prayers.

In his sermon, the mosque's preacher compared Morsi to Islam's Prophet Muhammad, saying the prophet had enjoyed vast powers as leader, giving a precedent for the same to happen now.

"No to tyranny!" congregants chanted, interrupting the cleric.

Morsi took to the podium and told the worshippers that he too objected to the language of the sheik and that one-man rule contradicts Islam.

Crowds of protesters marched from several locations in Cairo, converging in central Tahrir Square for the opposition's second mass rally in a week against Morsi.

They chanted, "Constitution: Void!" and "The people want to bring down the regime."

Senior opposition leader Hamdeen Sabbahi took the stage before the crowd and vowed protests would go on until "we topple the constitution.

"The revolution is back ... We shall be victorious," said Sabbahi, a liberal politician who came in a surprisingly close third in last summer's presidential election.

"We are united against the oppressive regime."

The protests were sparked by the president's decrees a week ago granting himself sweeping powers and neutralising the judiciary, the last check on his authority.

The edicts tapped into a feeling among many Egyptians that Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, from which he hails, are using their election victories to monopolise power and set up a new one-party state, nearly two years after the fall of autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Morsi says his new powers are in effect until the referendum passes.

He is expected to announce a date for the vote on Saturday.

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Read more on:    mohammed morsi  |  hosni mubarak  |  egypt  |  north africa
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