News / Middle East

Egyptians Take to the Streets Ahead of Constitution Vote

Egyptians Take to the Streets Ahead of Constitution Votei
|| 0:00:00
X
Elizabeth Arrott
December 12, 2012 9:48 PM
Egypt is set to hold a referendum on a new constitution starting Saturday - a vote that has polarized the nation. VOA's Elizabeth Arrott and Japhet Weeks talked to people on both sides of the divide.

Egyptians Take to the Streets Ahead of Constitution Vote

Elizabeth Arrott
Egypt is set to hold a referendum on a new constitution starting Saturday, a vote that has polarized the nation. Supporters and opponents of the country's proposed new constitution have taken to the streets across the country ahead of the referendum.
 
In Cairo, those against the draft charter have made the presidential palace the focus of discontent. Despite facing concrete and metal barriers, demonstrators have flooded the perimeter, shaking hands with soldiers guarding the complex.
 
The mood has been largely upbeat, despite anger at what they see as a constitution that fails to represent all Egyptians.
 
Anti-Morsi protester Rheem said, “We are here with other Egyptians just to say no to this rubbish constitution.”

  • In the lead-up to a referendum for Egypt's draft constitution, thousands of demonstrators gathered both for and against the document. Those opposed to the draft gathered near the Presidential Palace in Cairo (shown here). (Yuli Weeks for VOA)
  • Veiled women led a crowd in chanting anti-Morsi slogans in front of the Presidential Palace in Cairo. (Yuli Weeks for VOA)
  • Soldiers stood guard beside the Presidential Palace where protesters gathered to say "no" to the proposed constitution. (Yuli Weeks for VOA)
  • An anti-Morsi protester waves an Egyptian flag atop a huge wall erected by Egypt's Republican Guard to prevent demonstrators from amassing around the Presidential Palace. (Yuli Weeks for VOA)
  • Supporters of President Mohammed Morsi chanted his name at a massive rally organized by the Muslim Brotherhood just miles from the Presidential Palace. (Yuli Weeks for VOA)
Protesters decry the way the document was rushed through by a predominantly Islamist assembly.  They say the draft imposes a religious vision on the country while failing to protect civil rights.
 
Filmmaker and protester Hadi El Bagoury said, “This is only made for an Islamic power country.  Egypt is not only for them.”
 
Some in the crowd criticized the United States for what they see as unconditional backing for President Mohamed Morsi.
 
But the main anger is reserved for the president himself.
 
Protesters contemptuous of the extra powers he granted himself, though now partially rescinded, want Morsi to step down.
 
A few kilometers away, supporters of the president and the draft constitution turn out in huge numbers.
 
“This is our [be]loved president.  Our [be]loved president and future.  Today and the future," said one man. 
 
Those at the rally dismiss the idea of his ouster.
 
They also support what they say is a well-rounded constitution, at least for the Abrahamic faiths.  
 
Mohammed Rahid Arwan stood beneath the Egyptian flags and Islamic black banners being waved above the crowd. “The best thing in the constitution is that it is balanced in all fields - for Muslims, Christians and even Jewish [people]," he said. 
 
A Muslim Brotherhood official, Hamid Abdel Moneim, says the charter would bring about a stronger nation.
 
“This is the first stage for all of the building of the associations,  political and economic, to have the right position for Egypt to be one of the effective and advanced countries in the Middle East," he said. 
 
Rally leaders say they are trying to keep the opposing sides apart, after clashes last week left at least seven people dead.
 
Egypt's military has been called in to keep the peace in the run-up and during the vote, adding another powerful force into the political mix.

You May Like

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Rusty from: Australia
December 13, 2012 9:42 PM
Religious fanatics should never given power in any form. They are dangerous, dictators, backwards and one sided. The same way they voted for him they should now vote him out before its too late.


by: ali baba from: new york
December 13, 2012 10:15 AM
the voting process is fraud . moersy get approval.


by: John from: USA
December 12, 2012 5:32 PM
What will Morsi do when his Constitution gets voted down? Is he going to rig the vote to go his way? The Egyptian people need to have a plan in place if the vote is rigged Morsi's way. He is still a Dictator and the people need to get him out of office.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid