Skip to main content

Egyptian opposition calls for massive rally ahead of vote

By Reza Sayah and Amir Ahmed, CNN
updated 3:54 PM EST, Sun December 9, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Opposition calls for a massive rally on Tuesday
  • NEW: Scattered protests take place amid a heavy security presnce
  • President Morsy has refused to delay a constitutional referendum

Read a version of this story in Arabic.

Cairo (CNN) -- Opponents of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy's upcoming constitutional referendum called Sunday for new nationwide protests.

Emerging from a meeting attended by key opposition leaders in Cairo, a spokesman for the National Salvation Front, a coalition of opposition organizations, said protesters are planning a massive rally Tuesday.

There were scattered anti-Morsy demonstrations Sunday as a heavy security presence surrounded the presidential palace along concrete walls installed around the building.

The call for demonstrations follows news that Morsy refused to delay a Saturday vote on a new constitution even as he rolled back a controversial edict that gave himself sweeping powers.

The move was an attempt to stamp out a political crisis that has spilled into the streets, pitting the president's supporters and opponents against one another and raising questions about Morsy's ability to lead the fragile democracy.

Almost as soon as Morsy adviser Mohamed Selim el-Awwa laid out the offer Saturday, many in the opposition dismissed it.

Egypt's president pulls back on decree
Morsy: I will not allow murder, sabotage
U.S. aid to Egypt amid unrest questioned
A street vendor grills corn as Egyptian soldiers stand guard at the Presidential Palace on Tuesday, December 18, in Cairo. Protesters opposed to President Mohamed Morsy's first round of voting in the constitutional referendum gather during continuing demonstrations. A street vendor grills corn as Egyptian soldiers stand guard at the Presidential Palace on Tuesday, December 18, in Cairo. Protesters opposed to President Mohamed Morsy's first round of voting in the constitutional referendum gather during continuing demonstrations.
Egyptians protest presidential powers
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
Egyptians protest president\'s powers Egyptians protest president's powers

"No, there is better democracy than that," Amr Moussa, former head of the Arab League and a key opposition figure, told CNN.

"If the constitution lacks serenity and objectivity in certain of its articles, we have time, enough time to change those articles."

Morsy has refused to delay the referendum, saying a constitution is essential for the fledgling democracy, while the opposition says the document does not represent all Egyptians.

An independent judicial panel backed Morsy's announcement on Saturday, finding that the referendum must be carried out on December 15 to meet a legal requirement.

The presidential palace has been the seen of violent clashes pitting thousands of protesters -- for and against Morsy.

Egyptian authorities said at least six people have been killed in violent clashes in recent days, while the Muslim Brotherhood -- the group that backs Morsy -- has said eight of its members were killed.

The crisis erupted in late November when Morsy issued the edict allowing himself to run the country unchecked until a new constitution was drafted, a move that sat uncomfortably with many Egyptians who said it reminded them of ousted President Hosni Mubarak's rule.

Morsy had said the powers were necessary and temporary. But that promise did little to quiet the opposition.

Anger at Morsy's move led to protesters reoccupying Tahrir Square, the scene of the Arab Spring uprising that saw Mubarak ousted in 2011. Thousands later protested outside the palace, where the opposition clashed with the Muslim Brotherhood.

The anger only grew when the Islamist-dominated Constitutional Assembly pushed through a draft despite the objections of the secular opposition, including some members who walked out in protest.

A coalition of Egyptian Islamic parties, including the Brotherhood, rejects any postponement in the constitutional referendum, the Islamic Forces Alliance announced Saturday on the Brotherhood website.

CNN's Reza Sayah reported from Cairo, and Amir Ahmed from Atlanta. CNN's Chelsea J. Carter and Dana Ford contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Egypt
updated 8:26 PM EDT, Mon March 24, 2014
An Egyptian court sentences at least 528 supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood to death on charges related to violent riots in the southern Egyptian city of Minya.
updated 12:41 PM EDT, Mon March 24, 2014
Interim Egyptian President Adly Mansour sends letter to the family of jailed Al Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy.
updated 12:30 PM EDT, Sun March 9, 2014
CNN's Sara Sidner talks about stepping in for Al Jazeera reporters since they have been barred from working in Egypt.
updated 7:34 AM EDT, Sat March 15, 2014
How are the Arab Spring nations faring? What successes can they boast -- on democracy, economic progress, stability and women's rights -- and what challenges await?
updated 6:57 PM EST, Tue March 4, 2014
A Cairo court has banned all activities by Hamas in Egypt, calling the Palestinian movement that runs Gaza a terrorist organization.
updated 4:14 PM EST, Sat February 22, 2014
Lawyers representing Muslim Brotherhood members in a jailbreak case call for the judges to be changed.
updated 5:05 AM EST, Thu February 20, 2014
Three Al Jazeera journalists face terrorism charges after being arrested in December. CNN's Sara Sidner reports.
updated 12:52 PM EST, Sun February 9, 2014
CNN's Christiane Amanpour son the Egyptian government's actions towards journalists.
updated 11:09 PM EST, Mon February 17, 2014
At least four people died and 14 were wounded by a blast on a tourist bus in the resort town of Taba, authorities say.
updated 11:10 AM EST, Sun February 16, 2014
Mohamed Morsy taunts officials who placed him in a soundproof glass box during his trial on conspiracy charges.
updated 8:01 AM EST, Tue February 11, 2014
An Oscar-nominated film portrays a revolution squeezed into its margins,but that's where it started, writes H.A. Hellyer.
updated 3:18 AM EST, Wed January 22, 2014
"Democracy" is meaningless unless the right people are entrusted with implementing it, says Aalam Wassef.
updated 4:30 PM EST, Thu February 6, 2014
Egypt's military quashes a newspaper report that quoted Abdel-Fatah El-Sisi as saying he would run for president.
updated 3:02 AM EST, Sun January 26, 2014
Muslim Brotherhood supporters (background) clash with supporters of the Egyptian government in Cairo on January 25, 2014.
At least 49 people died in violence on the third anniversary of the January 25 revolution, state media says.
updated 5:04 PM EST, Sat January 18, 2014
Voters have overwhelmingly approved a new constitution, a spokesman for Egypt's electoral commission says.
updated 8:08 PM EST, Tue January 14, 2014
Egyptians vote for the first time since the military ousted Morsy. CNN's Ian Lee reports.
updated 8:11 PM EST, Tue January 14, 2014
A study suggests Egyptians are far more likely to support military rule than people in many other Mideast countries.
updated 3:54 PM EST, Tue January 14, 2014
CNN's Becky Anderson speaks to Amre Moussa about what went into the creation of Egypt's constitutional draft.
updated 1:12 PM EST, Tue January 14, 2014
Egyptians have high hopes that the referendum will put an end to the bloodshed, but will Egypt be back where it was at the start of the revolution?
updated 10:57 AM EST, Mon January 13, 2014
International correspondents demand Egypt release three journalists they say have been detained arbitrarily for two weeks.
ADVERTISEMENT