Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza: Back to Square One? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza: Back to Square One?

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Russia targets McDonald's over tensions with West

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

'New York Post' slammed for publishing ISIS execution images

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza conflict: 72-hour ceasefire deal sets stage for Cairo talks

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users divided over Darren Wilson

Read more

FOCUS

Spain's El Hierro to become world's first self-powered island

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

A bellwether for what not to do

Read more

ENCORE!

Luc Besson back in action with Scarlett Johansson in 'Lucy'

Read more

  • US forces tried to rescue slain reporter from IS captors

    Read more

  • Israeli air strike kills three top Hamas commanders

    Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

  • Thailand coup leader Prayuth Chan-ocha voted prime minister

    Read more

  • Deadly street battles hit Ukrainian rebel stronghold

    Read more

  • US attorney general visits Missouri town after fatal shooting

    Read more

  • French village rallies behind besieged elderly British couple

    Read more

  • Brazil’s Silva launches bid after Campos plane crash death

    Read more

  • Netanyahu compares Hamas to IS, Gaza offensive to continue

    Read more

  • Brutal IS beheading video sparks social media pushback

    Read more

  • France’s ex-PM Juppé sets up presidential clash with Sarkozy

    Read more

  • France’s Hollande says global security ‘worst since 2001’

    Read more

  • France urges Iran, others in region, to join fight against IS

    Read more

  • A new view on Normandy landings, 70 years on

    Read more

  • Dozens killed as landslides strike Japan’s Hiroshima

    Read more

Africa

Morsi gives Egypt's army police powers, right to arrest

© AFP

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-12-10

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi on Monday granted the army police powers, including the right to arrest civilians, ahead of a controversial December 15 referendum on a draft constitution that has sparked more than two weeks of protests.

President Mohamed Morsi has ordered Egypt's army from Monday to take on police powers -- including the right to arrest civilians -- in the run-up to a vote on a constitution that has triggered bloodshed.

The decree took effect on the eve of mass rival protests on the referendum that is to be staged on Saturday, and follows street clashes that have left seven people dead and hundreds injured.

It orders the military to fully cooperate with police "to preserve security and protect vital state institutions for a temporary period, up to the announcement of the results from the referendum," according to a copy of the decree obtained by AFP.

Army officers "all have powers of legal arrest," it says.

The military, which ruled Egypt between former president Hosni Mubarak's ouster in February 2011 to Morsi's election in June 2012, has sought to remain neutral in the political crisis.

'ARMY REMEMBERS BEING FOCUS OF PEOPLE'S WRATH'

it has warned it "will not allow" the situation to deteriorate, and urged both sides to dialogue.

Army tanks and troops have since Thursday deployed around Morsi's presidential palace. But they have not confronted thousands of protesters who have gathered there every night.

Monday afternoon, more than 100 anti-Morsi demonstrators milled around there, an AFP correspondent saw.

A few opposition men frisked protesters, but soldiers, who had set up big concrete barriers around the palace, did nothing.

The opposition, made up of secular, liberal, leftwing and Christian groups, has said it will escalate its protests to scupper the referendum.

It views the new constitution, largely drawn up by Morsi's Islamist allies, as undermining human rights, the rights of women, religious minorities, and curtailing the independence of the judiciary.

Morsi has defiantly pushed on with the draft charter, seeing it as necessary to secure democratic reform in the wake of Mubarak's 30-year autocratic rule.

Late Sunday, the main opposition group, the National Salvation Front, called for huge protests in Cairo to reject the December 15 constitutional referendum.

It said Morsi used near-absolute powers he had decreed himself last month to railroad through the draft constitution, and his revocation of those powers on the weekend came too late.

"We do not recognise the draft constitution because it does not represent the Egyptian people," National Salvation Front spokesman Sameh Ashour told a news conference.

In recent days, the protesters have hardened their slogans, going beyond criticism of the decree and the referendum to demand Morsi's ouster.

The Muslim Brotherhood, from which Morsi hails, shot back that Islamist movements would counter with their own big rallies in the capital in support of the referendum.

"We are calling for a demonstration Tuesday, under the slogan 'Yes to legitimacy'," the Brotherhood's spokesman, Mahmud Ghozlan, told AFP.

Morsi's camp argues it is up to the people to accept or reject the draft constitution.

Cairo schools informed parents they would be closed as precaution on Tuesday.

A group of senior judges on Monday said pro-Morsi Islamist protesters would have to lift a week-long sit-in on the constitutional court before they would consider overseeing the referendum.

If the charter is rejected, Morsi has promised to have a new one drawn up by 100 officials chosen directly by the public rather than appointed by the Islamist-dominated parliament.

But analysts said still-strong public support for Morsi and the Brotherhood's proven ability to mobilise at grassroots level would likely help the draft constitution be adopted.

"The Muslim Brotherhood believes that it has majority support so it can win the constitutional referendum," said Eric Trager, analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

If that happens, he warned, it would "set up the country for prolonged instability".

(AFP)

Date created : 2012-12-10

  • EGYPT

    Egypt's Morsi annuls decree on expanding powers

    Read more

  • EGYPT

    President replaces army chief, curbs military powers

    Read more

COMMENT(S)