News / Middle East

Referendum on Egypt's Constitution Slated for December

Egyptian riot police fire a water cannon to disperse people protesting against a new law restricting demonstrations, in downtown Cairo, Nov. 26, 2013.
Egyptian riot police fire a water cannon to disperse people protesting against a new law restricting demonstrations, in downtown Cairo, Nov. 26, 2013.
Reuters
Egypt will hold a referendum on an amended constitution in December, the group drafting it said on Tuesday, an important step in an army-backed roadmap meant to lead to elections.
 
Hours before the timing of the referendum was announced, protesters took to the streets in defiance of a law passed on Sunday requiring police approval for gatherings of more than 10 people. Police detained 28 people, the Interior Ministry said.
 
Egypt's democratic credentials have been called into question since the military toppled the country's first freely elected president, Islamist Mohamed Morsi, in July, following mass protests against his rule.
 
A committee of 50 members, with few Islamists, began work in September on amending the constitution that was approved in a referendum last year after being drafted by an Islamist-dominated assembly.
 
“The referendum will be held before the end of [December],” Mohamed Salmawy, spokesman of the constituent assembly, said. That contradicts comments made by Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi who said on Sunday the referendum would be held in the second half of January.
 
The new constitution will guarantee the right to protest and ensure that demonstrations can be held if protesters notify authorities, rather than wait to be granted permission, Salmawy said, in an apparent effort to ease tension over a new law restricting demonstrations.
 
Army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who ousted Morsi, has promised the roadmap will lead to free and fair elections.
 
But the plan has not stabilized Egypt, where protests and attacks by Islamist militants based in the unruly Sinai Peninsula have hammered investment and tourism.
 
Egypt has stumbled on its path to democracy since a popular uprising ousted autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011, with the army ousting Morsi and security forces mounting one of the fiercest crackdowns on Islamists in decades.
 
Hundreds have been killed and the Brotherhood's leadership has been arrested.
 
Khaled Dawoud, a prominent liberal political figure, criticized the government.
 
“They are making more enemies than friends especially among the young revolutionary Egyptian people who have been in the streets for the past three years,” he said.
 
Underscoring diffferences over the new law, ten members of the body have suspended their work in protest against the detentions, MENA reported. Beblawi promised to follow the results of the prosecutor's investigations into the detentions, according to an emailed statement from the cabinet.
 
Human rights groups have condemned the law as a major blow to freedom in Egypt, the most populous Arab state and a U.S. ally that has experienced near relentless upheaval since autocratic ruler Hosni Mubarak was toppled by a revolt in 2011.
 
“[The] new protest law gives security forces free rein,” Amnesty International said.
 
Skirmishes broke out between security forces and protesters in downtown Cairo and police fired teargas and water cannon to disperse the demonstrations. They were marking the death of a liberal activist killed in clashes with police two years ago and expressed anger against the protest law.

"Down with military rule"
 
Hundreds assembled at the Press Syndicate and parliament. “Down, down with military rule,” they chanted.
 
In Cairo, female students at Al-Azhar University for Islamic learning, which follows the government line, stormed into a dean's office and destroyed her desk.
 
The United States, which has partially frozen aid to Egypt, on Monday expressed concern over the new law and said it agreed  with groups that argued it did not meet international standards and hampered the country's move toward democracy.
 
A security official said Tuesday's crowd had not obtained permission to protest and had ignored warnings to disperse.
 
The army-backed government has said it is not against peaceful protests but wants to restore order in the streets. It has also complained that protests often disrupt traffic. Some Egyptians cheered police as they broke up protests on Tuesday.
 
“We are implementing the new protest law that requires protesters to seek permission from the Interior Ministry three days before the protest,” a police official said.
 
The protest law will further squeeze members of the Muslim Brotherhood, who have said they will continue demonstrating against what they say is a military coup.

You May Like

Video Protests Continue in Ferguson, Spread to Other US Cities

Missouri officials say deployment of more than 2,000 National Guard soldiers helps curb second night of rampant arson and looting in Midwestern town More

Video Ebola, Crackdown on Illegals Hit Business in Guangzhou

Chinese city has largest community of Africans in Asia More

Video Legendary Lebanese Actress, Singer Sabah Dies at 87

Music and film diva, affectionately called 'Sabbouha' by millions of her fans, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Olympia in Paris, Sydney Opera House in Sydney More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid