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

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More