News / Middle East

Egyptian Opposition to Continue Protests Against Referendum

An anti-Mursi protester walks past graffiti depicting two activists who died recently, at Tahrir Square in Cairo December 10, 2012.
An anti-Mursi protester walks past graffiti depicting two activists who died recently, at Tahrir Square in Cairo December 10, 2012.
VOA News
Despite concrete barricades and a heavy military presence in the Egyptian capital Cairo, opposition leaders say they will keep up the pressure on the president to cancel Saturday's constitutional referendum.
The opposition National Salvation Front, led by liberals including Mohamed ElBaradei and Amr Moussa, have called on their supporters to march on the presidential palace in Cairo on Tuesday.  

Developments in Egypt

  • November 22: Presidential decree gives Mr. Morsi sweeping powers, protests erupt
  • November 30: Islamist assembly adopts draft constitution
  • December 1: Constitution referendum scheduled for December 15
  • December 2: Judges say they will boycott constitution referendum
  • December 5: Protesters clash outside presidential palace in Cairo
  • December 8: Morsi annuls presidential decree
  • December 10: Morsi gives military authority to arrest civilians
In a statement late Sunday, a National Salvation Front spokesman said the draft constitution does not properly represent the Egyptian people. He said going ahead with a referendum on the document will lead to more confrontation in the country. 

But Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has refused to back down. On Monday, he gave the military authority to arrest civilians as part of a decree to help maintain security for the referendum. The order tasks the military with supporting police to protect "vital institutions."
Many secular Egyptians fear the draft constitution will erode civil liberties because it boosts the role of Islamic law and makes no specific mention of women's rights. A constituent assembly dominated by Islamists approved the document last month after liberal and Christian members walked out, complaining that their voices were being ignored. 
Some observers say the draft constitution has a good chance of being approved because Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood movement has a superior ability to mobilize supporters to vote. 
Morsi made a concession to the opposition on Saturday by canceling parts of a November 22 decree that granted himself sweeping powers. He made the announcement after a day of talks with other political figures. Most opposition groups boycotted the dialogue. 

  • An army soldier guards his tank in front the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, December 12, 2012.
  • Children play around protest camp tents in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, December 12, 2012.
  • Army tanks, left, deploy as Egyptian protesters gather outside the presidential palace during a demonstration against President Mohamed Morsi in Cairo, Egypt, December 11, 2012.
  • Protesters chant anti-government slogans in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, December 11, 2012.
  • Protesters gather in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, December 11, 2012.
  • Anti-Morsi protesters shout slogans as they stand on top of a wall in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, December 11, 2012.
  • People clash with anti-Morsi protesters, after the protesters blocked the gate of a government building near Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, December 11, 2012.
  • Anti-Morsi protesters sit outside their tents, below a flag that reads, "No, to Constitution," Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, December 10, 2012.
  • Protesters chant slogans during a demonstration in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, December 9, 2012.
  • Protesters push army soldiers standing guard in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, December 9, 2012.
  • Protesters chant slogans during a demonstration in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, December 9, 2012.
  • Soldiers stand guard on top of a tank in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, December 9, 2012.

Morsi also said that if the draft constitution is rejected in Saturday's referendum, he will call elections for a new constituent assembly to draft another charter that will be put to a popular vote. 
The president removed provisions of the November 22 decree that shielded all of his decisions from judicial review. Opposition groups had complained that the original measure gave the president dictatorial powers. 
But Morsi's Saturday decree said the courts remain barred from challenging his "constitutional declarations." 
Mohammed ElBaradei sent out a tweet Sunday saying the fight against the new constitution is about the "essence of the state, universal rights and values, and looking forwards, not backwards." 
On Saturday, Egypt's military made its first public comment on the political crisis, urging both sides to resolve political differences through dialogue.  It warned that continued confrontation risks plunging Egypt into a "dark tunnel leading to catastrophe" and vowed "not to allow" such an outcome.
Egyptian troops set up concrete barriers outside the presidential palace Sunday to prevent rival groups of liberals and Islamists from holding further rallies at the site. Street battles between the two sides have killed seven people in the capital in recent days. 

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: ali baba from: new york
December 11, 2012 3:39 AM
the problem in Egypt yield no effect on Egyptian Muslim brotherhood nor American policy maker . it seems that both refuse to understand.Despite Egypt in the news for one year the condition is deteriorating, and a Muslim gov who declare that us is a public enemy no1. the Obama administration is giving one billion dollar and allow Egyptian gov to purchase airplane fighter. what is the purpose to supply Egypt with military equipment . is that good for next middle east. or using these military equipment to kill the infidel in Egypt the Christian.

by: johnsmith from: knoxville
December 10, 2012 11:21 PM
This will happen here soon. I hope they'll have enough room in the FEMA camps for all of us

by: markjuliansmith from: Canberra
December 10, 2012 3:47 PM
"..liberal and Christian members walked out, complaining that their voices were being ignored."

Egyptian Liberals etc have to ask themselves what the promises of Iranian Islamists to protect Other meant in the long run.

It is amazing how similar a secular doctrine to a religious doctrine of suppression of Other; how Other is defined as evil and and due to Others innate nature inevitably subject to grievous harm and severest penalty.

Yet one is rightly suppressed and the other able to spread its dogma of hate without censure. Incredibly those who point this out are censured - so it was in the 1930s.

Change the foundation text or change nothing.

by: ThomHH from: Washington, DC
December 10, 2012 11:10 AM
Morsi is like a three-year-old looking for one more way around the rules! It does not bode well for Egyptian democracy to have an infant in charge.

by: Stephen Real from: Columbia, USA
December 10, 2012 10:57 AM
Hey Senator John Kerry, Amb. Susan Rice, US Congress, etc.,etc,etc...Why are you not taking Herr Morsi out too the woodshed? He deserves a serious public dress down.

by: Michael Collins from: Oakland, California
December 10, 2012 10:48 AM
It's hard to imagine a stable political system when the constitutional structure only requires 51%. Every time there's another election, their constitution could be rewritten or revoked.

Better to require at least 60%. You wouldn't be able to pass as many constitutional rules, but those you could pass would have broader appeal.

The Islamist have come to power partially as a result of many not-so-Islamists who want to see an end to military rule and corruption.

If they don't maintain their coalition, they may find that in the next election their secular brothers decide to vote for military rule--deciding that's preferable to living in a theocratic state.

If the 51% can subject everyone to their rules, then when someone else comes to power, they will use the same logic and may wash away everything that you've done.

by: ali baba from: new york
December 10, 2012 9:53 AM
it is over .moersi made has made his mind such as bashier in Sudan ,mullah Omar in Afghanistan. I will not surprise that each one in Egypt is going to kill each other. I will not surprise that large scale of instability will cause serious war in middle east . the prophecy of666 is about to fulfill . now you can figure out who is 666

by: Edo from: New Mexico
December 10, 2012 9:33 AM
Was religion created by man to subjugate women? I think they should reverse sharia law to apply to men and see how religious they remain.

by: Steve Martin from: Edison NJ
December 10, 2012 8:06 AM
What we need to do is shut down voice of america to save money. This Government service is no longer needed . It will help reduce the deficit. Private enterprise already fills this slot.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs