News / Africa

Egyptians Protest After Panel Backs Constitution

Egyptians Protest Draft Constitutioni
|| 0:00:00
X
Japhet Weeks
November 30, 2012
Egyptian protesters turned out in force again Friday, condemning the rushing through of a draft constitution by an Islamist-dominated assembly. VOA's Elizabeth Arrott has more from Tahrir Square, in Cairo.
TEXT SIZE - +
Elizabeth Arrott
— Egyptians protested in Cairo's Tahrir Square Friday for an eighth straight day of demonstrations against President Mohamed Morsi, as an Islamist-dominated panel approved Egypt's new draft constitution that must now be voted on in a nationwide referendum.  

The panel, boycotted by several Christian and liberal members, retained the principles of Islamic law as the main source of legislation. The group rushed through the approval of the 234 articles in a meeting that lasted from Thursday afternoon until early Friday.

The assembly moved up the vote to pass the draft before Sunday, when Egypt's highest judicial power is expected to rule on whether to dissolve the panel.

Egypt's Draft Constitution

  • Limits president to two four-year terms
  • Provides protections against arbitrary detention and torture
  • Islamic law, or Sharia, serves as the basis for legislation
  • Religious freedom is limited to Muslims, Christians and Jews
  • Citizens are deemed equal before the law and equal in rights

Over the past few days, about 30 liberal and Christian members pulled out of the panel to protest what they called the hijacking of the process by Islamists loyal to the president.

Morsi went on national television late Thursday to reassure Egyptians that the passage of a new constitution would resolve the current standoff.  He said  the decree granting himself extraordinary powers would end as soon as the constitution was adopted. And he defended the move, saying it necessary to protect the revolution from reactionary forces.

  • Thousands of people gather in Tahrir Square to protest Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi's recent consolidation of power, November 30, 2012. (Y. Weeks/VOA)
  • A protester on Tahrir Square holds up a poster comparing Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi to former fascist leaders Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler, November 30, 2012. (Y. Weeks/VOA)
  • A young girl holds an Egyptian flag in Tahrir Square, November 30, 2012. (Y. Weeks/VOA)
  • Protesters chant slogans against the Muslim Brotherhood, whose political wing launched Mohamed Morsi to the presidency, November 30, 2012. (Y. Weeks/VOA)
  • A protester leads a group of Egyptians in anti-Muslim Brotherhood chants, November 30, 2012. (Y. Weeks/VOA)
  • A protester in Tahrir Square holds up a copy of the Koran and a Christian cross, November 30, 2012. (Y. Weeks/VOA)
  • Protesters in Tahrir Square calling for the Muslim Brotherhood to leave government, November 30, 2012. (Y. Weeks/VOA)

But the president's opponents argue the wording on personal rights and freedom of expression and religion opens the possibility for repression.

Realtor Hisham Mahmoud, who came to Tahrir with his teenage daughter and her friend, says the drafters did not represent Egypt. He said that after the revolution, Egypt should have “a more elevated constitution.” He wished a broad section of Egyptian intellectuals had been involved.

Protesters also argue the draft was pushed through to avoid a further showdown with Egypt's judiciary. The constitutional court was set to rule on the legitimacy of the body that wrote the draft Sunday, and appears ready to go ahead.  What that could mean for the legitimacy of the constitution remains unclear.

Growing anger

While many protesters chanted peaceful slogans, the anger of others was palpable. Law student Eid, wearing a mask of the Egyptian flag, called for continued protests.

“We will stay here, not go anywhere," he said. "And tell Mohamed Morsi, you are not the Egyptian president.  You are Ikhwan.  You are a liar.”

The Ikhwan, or Muslim Brotherhood, is planning a counter-rally Saturday in support of President Morsi, who officially broke with the group and its political wing on becoming president.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Tom Mariner from: NY, USA
November 30, 2012 1:11 PM
Egypt had a choice whether to be a country that had elected officials, or a religion that had clerics deciding actions. They decided religion.

Morsi can pretend to grab all the power he wants -- if the Islamic mullahs decide what is and is not a law, he's a figurehead -- like Ahmadinejad.


by: mtatom from: Hesperia, Ca
November 30, 2012 12:13 PM
Although there has been some headway toward bringing democracy to the Middle East, it is in no way close to being "free". The people of this area of the world a predominately tribal, ignorant and fanatical--all of which keep them from evolving into the 21st century.


by: JRB from: Calcutta
November 30, 2012 11:53 AM
Fundamentalism is eating away very fibre of all society & human civilisation.If it is not brushed away,but Neoliberalism & transnational capitalism are swipping younger generation for the lure of glamour,greed. glitz in the name of LPG culture- result in short 10 yrs will be while these religious biggots will hijack our society whereas other group will enjoy - winning,dinning,womanising,gambling,drugs.Egypt had the chance to in the path of culture & humanism. JRB


by: ali baba from: new york
November 30, 2012 11:16 AM
moresy want to divert the egyptian from the main concern. egyptian concern is to improve the ecnomic condition . by adpoted shria law,god will not open the heaven and send fry chicken and french fries. god will not send his angle to build houses for the egyptian who live in the grave yard. moresy is not fit to be the president of hair club. shria law and salfi will put the last nail in egypt coffin
islam is not the solution.it is a prescription for disaster


by: Capn Craig Again from: Chesapeake, VA
November 30, 2012 11:02 AM
So they traded one tyrant for a thousand tyrants. God save their sad souls from their own folly.

This is one step from Sharia Law. Precisely what the Muslim Brotherhood is in it for.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid