Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE INTERVIEW

Historian Jean Garrigues: 'For the first time, Hollande knows what he is doing'

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

'Macron-economy' pun already worn out

Read more

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War

Read more

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War (part 2)

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

New French economy minister signals changes to 35-hour week

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Valls ♥ Business

Read more

FOCUS

Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Terrorist ransoms: Should governments pay up for hostages?

Read more

ENCORE!

Kristen Stewart and Juliette Binoche star in 'Clouds of Sils Maria'

Read more

  • Russian troops have entered Ukraine, says Kiev

    Read more

  • Assad cannot be partner in fight against terrorism, says Hollande

    Read more

  • New Ebola case in Nigeria brings death toll to 1,552

    Read more

  • Video: 'Neither Baghdad nor the US can defeat the Islamic State'

    Read more

  • Platini will not run against Blatter for FIFA presidency

    Read more

  • Air France pilots announce week-long strike in September

    Read more

  • Erdogan's inauguration paves way for constitutional change

    Read more

  • New French economy minister takes swipe at 35-hour work week

    Read more

  • Air France suspends flights to Ebola-stricken Sierra Leone

    Read more

  • Uzi shooting by 9-year-old rekindles gun debate

    Read more

  • Mother of American journalist asks IS leader for his release

    Read more

  • UN probe accuses Syrian regime, Islamists of ‘crimes against humanity’

    Read more

  • Uruguayans sign up to grow marijuana at home

    Read more

  • Missouri governor appoints black public safety director

    Read more

  • French unemployment rises 0.8% in July to record high

    Read more

  • Video: Iraq’s Yazidis flee to spiritual capital of Lalish

    Read more

  • Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

    Read more

  • Airstrikes and Assad - Obama’s military conundrum in Syria

    Read more

Africa

Clashes erupt in Alexandria on eve of referendum

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-12-21

Clashes erupted between rival demonstrators in Egypt’s second largest city of Alexandria on Friday, one day before the country returns to the polls for a second round of voting on a new draft constitution that has polarised the nation.

Clashes between rival demonstrators erupted on Friday in Egypt's second city Alexandria, the eve of the final round of a referendum on a divisive new constitution drafted by an Islamist-dominated panel.

Riot police, with orders to act "decisively," formed a barrier between several thousand Islamists and hundreds more opposition protesters and used tear gas to put down the street battles.

The clashes, in which the health ministry said 32 people were hurt, subsided after around 90 minutes.

In the first round held in half of Egypt last weekend, Alexandria voted in favour of the constitution. It has seen clashes break out on several occasions amid nationwide rallies for and against Islamist President Mohamed Morsi.

Early this month in Cairo, the confrontations turned deadly outside of Morsi's palace. Eight people were killed and hundreds were wounded.

The army has since deployed 120,000 soldiers to bolster 130,000 police tasked with maintaining security during the volatile voting.

The secular-leaning opposition sees the proposed constitution as weakening human rights and opening the way to creeping strict sharia-style Islamic legislation under Morsi. It is urging a "no" vote in Saturday's second round.

Analysts said it was almost certain the new constitution would be adopted -- but that such an outcome would not end Egypt's political crisis.

The ongoing instability is hurting Egypt's economy, which has been limping along since the popular uprising that ousted the 30-year autocratic regime of Hosni Mubarak early last year.

The International Monetary Fund has put on hold a $4.8 billion loan Egypt needs to stave off a currency collapse, and Germany has indefinitely postponed a plan to forgive $316 million of Egypt's debt.

The head of the National Salvation Front opposition coalition, former UN atomic energy agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei, warned in an online video that "the country is on the verge of bankruptcy".

He said "a solution is still possible," as long as Morsi was prepared for "sincere dialogue" and allowed a whole new constitution to be drafted through a more inclusive process.

Supporters of both sides have taken to the streets to sway voters to their side of the debate in the run-up to the second round of the referendum.

In Giza, a southwestern Cairo district that will vote on Saturday, an opposition campaign volunteer who give his first name as Maher said he pointed out to people in the street those who remain "committed to the revolution and who betrayed it" -- implying that Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood had let down the country.

A pro-constitution campaigner there, Abdallah Hassan, said his counter pitch was to inform people of "the benefits that will come out of this constitution by voting 'yes'," principally stability after so many months of turmoil.

Observers said that even if the draft charter were adopted, it would do nothing to resolve the festering political confrontation.

"Everything suggests the vote will go the way the Muslim Brotherhood wants... But the misleading conclusion it will take away is that there is an overwhelming victory allowing it to continue on its chosen path," Hassan Nafaa, an analyst and commentator, said in the newspaper Al-Masri Al-Youm.
 

(AFP)

Date created : 2012-12-21

  • EGYPT

    Vote count under way in Egypt's divisive referendum

    Read more

  • EGYPT

    Egypt divided ahead of constitution referendum

    Read more

  • EGYPT

    Egypt’s opposition urges ‘No’ vote in referendum

    Read more

COMMENT(S)