Skip to main content

Protesters, police clash ahead of Egyptian constitution vote

By Mohammed Tawfeeq, CNN
updated 12:36 PM EST, Fri January 10, 2014
Police detain a man during clashes with supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi in Cairo on Friday January 10.
Police detain a man during clashes with supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi in Cairo on Friday January 10.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Islamist group supporters protest an upcoming vote on a new constitution
  • The constitution would ban religious parties and give the military more power
  • Clashes were reported Friday in at least three cities

(CNN) -- Protesters in parts of Egypt rallied Friday against the government and a vote on a constitution that would ban religious parties, leading to clashes with security forces or demonstrators' opponents in at least three cities, Egyptian media reported.

The demonstrations are the latest by members or supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group that has regularly protested Egypt's interim government since Brotherhood-backed President Mohamed Morsy was ousted in a coup in July.

Muslim Brotherhood supporters clashed with opponents in parts of Cairo after Morsy loyalists tore down posters supporting the proposed constitution, on which Egyptians will vote Tuesday and Wednesday, the semiofficial Ahram Online news outlet reported.

In Giza, security forces fired tear gas at Morsy supporters to disperse their march there, Ahram Online reported. The demonstrators began to march after Friday prayers and clashed with police in various parts of the city, Ahram Online said.

Clashes also broke out in al-Sabah city in Suez province, where security forces fired tear gas at a pro-Morsy march, according to the state-run Middle East News Agency.

The Muslim Brotherhood-led National Alliance to Support Legitimacy had called for protests, MENA said. The alliance has focused its ire on Egypt's January 14-15 referendum on a new constitution, which would not only ban religious parties but also put more power in the hands of the military.

The alliance has called for a boycott of the referendum.

Muslim Brotherhood supporters have continued their protests, even though the government declared the group a terrorist organization last month. The government has threatened to arrest anyone who attends Muslim Brotherhood protests or provides financial support to the organization.

Supporters of the organization demand the reinstatement of Morsy, who became the country's first democratically elected president in 2012, and the full restoration of their political and social rights. The interim government blames the group for coordinated attacks on churches and government facilities, including a recent bombing of a police headquarters that left 16 dead and more than 100 injured.

The military ousted Morsy on July 3 after he was accused of pursuing an Islamist agenda and excluding other factions from the government.

Morsy's supporters say that the deposed president wasn't given a fair chance and that the military has returned to the authoritarian practices of longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak, who was deposed in a popular uprising in 2011.

Morsy is awaiting trial in several cases, including one in which he and 14 other Muslim Brotherhood members face charges stemming from December 2012 protests over a constitution he shepherded into effect.

Egyptian authorities have accused Morsy and his staff of ordering supporters to attack protesters after guards and members of the Interior Ministry refused to do it.

Morsy and four others are charged with inciting violence, but they are not accused of using force. Eleven others are charged with killing three men, torturing 54 people, using force and possessing weapons.

That trial, delayed Wednesday, is expected to resume on February 1.

Morsy, who says he still is Egypt's legitimate president, has refused to recognize the court's authority and has yet to accept legal representation for the proceeding.

CNN's Jason Hanna, Sarah Sirgany, Saad Abedine and Laura Smith-Spark contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:09 PM EDT, Wed July 9, 2014
Brazil's oldest foe secures its place in the World Cup final for the first time in more than two decades after defeating the Netherlands on penalties.
updated 10:23 AM EDT, Wed July 9, 2014
Israel has deployed its Iron Dome defense system to halt incoming rockets. Here's how it works.
A high speed train leaves Beijing south railway station on August 11, 2011.
How Beijing built the world's largest high-speed rail network in less than a decade.
updated 6:56 AM EDT, Thu July 10, 2014
CNN's Becky Anderson looks at how practicing underwater is the perfect way to prepare for spacewalks.
updated 5:17 AM EDT, Wed July 9, 2014
An emotional Brazil fan reacts after being defeated by Germany 7-1 during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Semi Final match between Brazil and Germany at Estadio Mineirao on July 8, 2014 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Spectacular Germany outplays Brazil to reach the World Cup final with a 7-1 win over the hosts.
Even those who aren't in the line of fire feel the effects of the chaos that has engulfed Iraq since extremists attacked.
updated 2:41 AM EDT, Wed July 9, 2014
CNN's Jim Bittermann takes a look at a family who found the remains of their great- grandfather 100 years later.
updated 8:08 PM EDT, Tue July 8, 2014
Israelis and Palestinians have entered another yet violent cycle of reaction and counterreaction. Here are five things to keep in mind.
updated 7:18 PM EDT, Mon July 7, 2014
Traveling to the U.S.? You could be delayed if your electronic device has a dead battery.
updated 5:57 PM EDT, Tue July 8, 2014
With one hand, Zahra Hassan clutches a purse that matches her red blouse and skirt trimmed in blue. In the other, she holds an AK-47.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT