News / Middle East

    Multiple Protests Rock Egypt

    Anti-Morsi protesters chant anti-government slogans at Tahrir Square in Cairo, December 11, 2012.
    Anti-Morsi protesters chant anti-government slogans at Tahrir Square in Cairo, December 11, 2012.
    Edward Yeranian
    Multiple protests are taking place in Cairo and across Egypt Tuesday, both by Islamist supporters of President Mohamed Morsi and by the opposition National Salvation Front.

    Crowds of opposition protesters began converging on the presidential palace by late afternoon Tuesday, as marchers poured in from several parts of the capital. Three walls of large cement blocks prevented the crowd from getting close to the building.

    VOA correspondent Elizabeth Arrott said from the scene that several thousand demonstrators chanted demands to topple the regime. Some held signs urging to vote "no" on the referendum.

    Arrott said thousands of Muslim Brotherhood members and other Islamists rallied at a nearby site, chanting support for Morsi. A Brotherhood leader said there are no plans to march on the palace.

    Islamist supporters of the president mobilized in front of several Cairo mosques, chanting slogans in favor of the new constitution. Islamist demonstrations were also reported in Alexandria, Assiout and Suez.

    • 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.


    The Egyptian military called for all political parties to meet on Wednesday at a military sports complex to resolve the crisis, the state news agency reported. There was no immediate response from various political groups.

    Mohamed ElBaradei, who heads the opposition National Salvation Front, said his group was still debating whether to boycott Saturday's scheduled referendum on the controversial new constitution or ask supporters to vote no. Islamists are urging Egyptians to vote “yes.”

    Referendum as civic duty

    In a press conference at Cairo's Islamic al Azhar University, Sheikh Ahmed Olayil said it is the civic duty of all Egyptians to turn out for the referendum, no matter how they vote.
     
    He said going to vote is a national obligation, and it doesn't matter if people vote "yes" or if they vote "no." He said that the 2011 uprising against the government was based on the principle of "destroying' corruption in the old regime," while the objective now is to build new government institutions.
     
    But Prime Minister Hisham Qandil, in a separate press conference, said the crisis in Egypt is economic and that political differences need to be solved to attack that problem.
     
    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
    Qandil said a national dialogue will be held next week to discuss controversial proposed tax hikes and to determine how to move ahead in solving the economic crisis. He said the ongoing political instability is preventing a solution to the economic crisis.

    Meanwhile, President Mohamed Morsi met with a stream of supporters and opponents at the presidential palace, including the head of the opposition Wafd party, Sayyed Badawi.

    A clash of generational forces

    Analyst James Denselow of Kings' College London said the current conflict is the product of a clash between three separate and distinct forces in Egyptian society.

    "You have three dynamic elements clashing which each other," he said. They involve "the Muslim Brotherhood's attempt to consolidate its rule through Morsi's constitutional referendum; the traditional Mubarak era structures of power - the military and the security services - attempting to define their role in the post-Mubarak era; and the post-Arab Spring, Tahrir Square generation, who are unwilling to sit quietly by while dramatic and drastic changes occur...."

    Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund has placed a $4.8 billion loan to Egypt on hold Tuesday as the political tensions grip the nation. The Egyptian government says it first wants to better explain austerity measures tied to the planned loan.

    Loading timeline...

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Anonymous
    December 11, 2012 10:23 AM
    the last sentence is incomplete and misleading: it should have said that the 7 casualties are from the islamists

    by: Philip Smeeton from: Norway
    December 11, 2012 8:57 AM
    We have to stop aiding Islamists in the Middle East. They feel that anything that they do in the name of Islam is justified. Threats, terror and murder, it is the Muslim way.

    by: Brad Naksuthin
    December 11, 2012 8:28 AM

    America needs to learn a lesson from what's happening in Egypt.

    Whenever religious groups gain political power they try to impose their beliefs on EVERYONE...even those who don't worship the same God.
    Religious people delude themselves into thinking they are following the teachings of Allah or God or Jehovah or a divinity they automatically apply their beliefs to EVERYONE else.

    We must be vigilant to prevent something like this happening in the US.

    Already Christians are trying to use political power to force their views on abortion, contraception, stem cell research, euthanasia, same sex marriage, drugs and prostitution etc. on ALL Americans...even those who do not follow their rules or believe in their God.

    There is no difference between the goals of the Muslim Brotherhood and the goals of the Christian Taliban




    In Response

    by: ali baba from: new york
    December 11, 2012 8:24 PM
    in fact Egypt have to learn from us. they have to learn separation of state from religion .they have to learn freedom of speech .they have to learn to establish secular Gov. they have to eliminate salfi and Muslim brotherhood from politics

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora