Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE INTERVIEW

Simon Serfaty, US foreign policy specialist

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'It's a War, Stupid!'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

French PM calls on ECB to go further to help economy

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'I love the Socialists'

Read more

WEB NEWS

Ukraine: Web users call for international assistance

Read more

WEB NEWS

France: Fighting political corruption with transparency

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

No strategy and a beige suit

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

South Africa: Four men found guilty of shooting Rwandan exile

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - August 29th, 2014

Read more

  • Ukrainian forces retreat from Luhansk airport after clashes

    Read more

  • Iraqi forces free Armeli in biggest victory over IS militants since June

    Read more

  • Teddy Riner, France’s unstoppable judo champion

    Read more

  • Anti-government protesters storm Pakistan's state TV

    Read more

  • Putin calls for talks on 'statehood' for east Ukraine

    Read more

  • Poland marks 75 years since German invasion of WWII

    Read more

  • Israel appropriates large tracts of West Bank land

    Read more

  • Rescue efforts under way after French apartment block blast

    Read more

  • Web doc on French self-immolation protests takes top prize

    Read more

  • PSG trounce Saint-Etienne 5-0 with Ibrahimovic hat trick

    Read more

  • Tension rises in Hong Kong as Beijing rejects open elections

    Read more

  • French police stop 'teenage jihadist' from flying to Syria

    Read more

  • Kidnapped Yazidi women 'sold to Islamists' in Syria

    Read more

  • Confusion reigns after Lesotho 'coup'

    Read more

  • French PM vows to safeguard 35-hour work week

    Read more

  • Inside Novoazovsk – the pro-Russians' latest conquest

    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)