Tuesday to see rival constitution protests in Cairo

Ahram Online, Tuesday 11 Dec 2012

Mass protests from both opponents and supporters of Egypt's President Morsi will take place in northern Cairo on Tuesday; Ahram Online lays out each group's aims and plans for the day

A soldier pulls barbed wire on a fence to close the road before a demonstration, in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, December 4, 2012 (PhotoL Reuters)

Both opponents and supporters of President Mohamed Morsi will take to the streets on Tuesday to make their voices heard about Saturday's constitutional referendum. Ahram Online provides a brief summary of each side's goals for the day and a map of various marching routes.

Islamists mobilise for yes vote

According the Muslim Brotherhood's official web presence, Ikhwanweb, two main million-man marches are set to take place in Cairo on Tuesday to voice their support for "legitimacy."

Joining the protests are the Egyptian Board of Trustees of the Revolution, a group led by Salafist preacher Safwat Hegazy, and the Islamist Coalition, which is formed of 10 parties and forces affiliated with political Islam.

The protest is further calling on people to vote 'yes' in the constitution referendum.

However, the Salafist Nour Party, one of the members of the coalition, announced that they will not be taking part in the rallies, to have more time to mobilise the street for a 'yes' vote in the referendum on Saturday "to ensure an exit from the current phase to stability."

"We're currently touring all governorates, holding campaigns to interact with the public," Mohamed Mansour, a member of the high commission of the Nour Party told state-owned news agency MENA.

Islamists protesters are expected to assemble at Rabaa Al-Adawiya mosque and Al-Rashdan mosque, both in Nasr City, a northern suburb of Cairo.

Protests are scheduled to converge at a common venue which will be later determined by groups, "depending on certain circumstances."

Brotherhood spokesman Mahmoud Ghozlan told Ahram's Arabic website that the protesters have no intention of marching to the presidential palace, where dozens are holding a sit-in to denounce the referendum and the president's recent declaration.

Last Wednesday the Muslim Brotherhood called on its members to head to the palace to "peacefully" support the president's decisions, while opponents of the president were present at the same place.

Morsi supporters reportedly attacked the sit-in, leading to bloody clashes that left at least eight dead.

The Islamist group has claimed that the majority of those killed were members of the Brotherhood.

Muslim Brotherhood members in Upper Egypt, including Wadi Gedid, Assiut, Sohag, Qena, Luxor, and Aswan are also calling for mass protests at the Omar Makram mosque in the governorate of Assiut.

Opposition rallies supporters

Meanwhile, the presidential palace, which is around three miles away from the pro-Morsi rallies, will receive six opposition marches on Tuesday.

Marches that will leave at 4pm from Al-Nour mosque in Abbasiya, from Hadayek Al-Kobba close to Heliopolis in northern Cairo, from Al-Higaz Square in Upper Heliopolis, from Al-Anwar Al-Mohamediya mosque in Matariya suburb next to Heliopolis, and from Zaki Hussein Street in Nasr City.

The opposition are protesting the referendum on what they describe as an "unrepresentative constitution", which was drafted by an Islamist-led Constituent Assembly; they also object to the taxes rises on certain goods that were announced on Sunday but suspended several hours later by the presidency pending "further study."

"President Morsi is turning into a dictator. His speeches are fragile, not to mention that he has accused the opposition of being foreign agents," read the statement signed by several political forces, including the Socialist Popular Alliance, the Egyptian Popular Current, the Revolutionary Socialists and the Constitution Party.

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