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

Photogallery Strong Words Start, May End, S. African Xenophobic Attacks

President Jacob Zuma publicly condemned rise in attacks on foreign nationals but critics say leadership has been less than welcoming to foreign residents More

Video Family Waits to Hear Charges Against Reporter Jailed in Iran

Reports in Iran say Jason Rezaian has been charged with espionage, but brother tells VOA indictment has not been made public More

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Action to Stabilize Libya

Amnesty International says multinational concerted humanitarian effort must be enacted to address crisis; decrepit boats continue to bring thousands of new arrivals daily 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.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs