Egypt protesters breach palace barricade

2012-12-11 17:33
Presidential palace guards (Picture: AP)

Presidential palace guards (Picture: AP)

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

Cairo - Several hundred Egyptian protesters breached a concrete and metal barricade outside the presidential palace in Cairo on Tuesday, forcing back the soldiers manning it, AFP correspondents reported.

There was no violent confrontation despite the tensions surrounding the determination of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi to press ahead with a Saturday referendum on a controversial new constitution drafted by a panel dominated by his Islamist allies.

The protesters pulled apart a high metal gate bar by bar and toppled concrete blocks with chains.

Hundreds of soldiers who had erected the barrier at the weekend, to block access roads following deadly clashes in the area last week, fell back closer to the palace. Six tanks were stationed close to the walled compound.

A counter-demonstration by Morsi supporters was taking place a few kilometres away, raising fears of further clashes.

On Wednesday last week, pro- and anti-Morsi demonstrators fought each other with metal bars, petrol bombs and handguns, leaving seven people dead and more than 600 injured.

Morsi on Monday ordered the army to use temporary police powers to protect the palace and other "vital state institutions".

The military, which is trying to remain neutral in Egypt's three-week-old political crisis, has vowed to carry out its duty to maintain stability within democratic rules.

The opposition, made up of secular, leftwing and liberal groups, sees the draft text as weakening human rights, the rights of women and religious minorities.

Egyptian human rights groups issued a statement saying the draft constitution "opens the door to the establishment of a theocratic system similar to the Iranian 'Velayat-e Faqih' model", or rule by a clerical supreme leader.

The UN human rights chief and international watchdogs have criticised the draft charter and the way it was drawn up.

Morsi's supporters, however, argue that it is now up to Egypt's voters to decide in the referendum.

Self-restraint

Michael Wahid Hanna, a political analyst at US thinktank The Century Foundation told AFP that, as things stood, there was a good chance of the referendum passing.

He cautioned, though, that "I don't take it as an absolute certainty, as there is more fluidity in the Egypt electorate than we give it credit for".

If the draft charter is adopted, Hanna warned, "I fear they are going to have an institutionalised crisis" that would polarise Egypt in the long term and "raises the spectre of violence".

The United States, which gives billions of dollars in aid to Egypt's military, has called for the protests over the referendum to remain peaceful.

On Monday, after a meeting with Morsi, Egypt's defence minister and commander of the armed forces, General Abel-Fattah al-Sisi, called on army officers to exercise the "highest levels of self-restraint".

He said the armed forces were determined to "carry out their role in protecting the nation and its stability regardless of pressures and challenges".

But Emad Gad, an Egyptian political analyst, said: "In the event there are violent clashes or especially if blood is spilt in the street, the army will certainly intervene."

He said there was even a potential the army might have to seize political control again, to maintain order and security.

The prolonged crisis has intensified uncertainty over Egypt's economy triggered by the revolution early last year that overthrew autocratic president Hosni Mubarak.

The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday said a proposed $4.8bn loan is on hold at the request of Egyptian authorities in view of the volatile situation.

The IMF and Egyptian authorities provisionally agreed the loan last month and the IMF's executive board had been expected to review the deal this month.

The loan is aimed at helping the government to bridge financing shortfalls through fiscal 2013-2014 as the country rebuilds a battered post-revolution economy.

Read more on:    mohammed morsi  |  egypt  |  egypt protests  |  north africa
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

 
/Fashion
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Friday Cape Town - 16:15 PM
    Road name: Wet Weather
    RAIN across the greater Cape Town area - drive with care and use headlights - Allow Extra Tavel Time
  • Friday Kuils River - 09:28 AM
    Road name: Polkadraai Road Eastbound
    ROADWORKS between the R102 Van Riebeeck Road and the R310 Baden Powell Drive exit - DELAYS
 
More traffic reports...
 

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

2 TV Series for R250

Get 2 TV Series box sets for R250 and save up to R148! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid 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

BlackBerry Torch 9810

The BlackBerry Torch 9810 gives you the powerful combination of...

From R2790.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The day may have a fluctuating sensitive energy to begin with, but later when the Moon moves into dramatic and creative Leo you...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.