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Egypt's opposition rejects referendum, urges protests

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2012-12-10

Egypt's political crisis looked set to continue on Sunday after opposition groups called for more street protests against President Mohammed Morsi and rejected his planned December 15 referendum on a draft constitution.

Egypt's opposition on Sunday called for mass street protests on Tuesday rejecting a December 15 referendum on a new constitution drafted by President Mohamed Morsi's Islamist allies.

"We do not recognise the draft constitution because it does not represent the Egyptian people," the opposition National Salvation Front said in a statement read out at a news conference by spokesman Sameh Ashour.

"We reject the referendum, which will certainly lead to more division and sedition," he said.

"The Front calls for demonstrations in the capital and in the regions on Tuesday as a rejection of the president's decision that goes against our legitimate demands," he said.

The opposition's statement also condemned "militias" from the Muslim Brotherhood backing Morsi and "terrorist gangs".

The protest call meant Egypt's weeks-long political crisis was to continue, despite Morsi on Saturday making a key concession to the opposition by rescinding a controversial November decree that had given him expanded powers free from judicial review.

Tuesday's demonstrations could lead to more violence if Morsi's supporters challenge them, as occurred on Wednesday when seven people were killed and hundreds injured in vicious clashes outside the presidential palace.

Following the opposition's rallying call, Egypt's Islamist movements, including President Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, announced they will hold a rival demonstration on Tuesday.

The Alliance of Islamist Forces "is calling for a demonstration Tuesday under the slogan 'Yes to legitimacy' " in support of a constitutional referendum championed by Morsi, Mahmud Ghozlan told AFP.

The duelling rallies in Cairo raise the potential for more clashes like those that erupted last Wednesday, killing seven people and wounding hundreds in the capital.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2012-12-09


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