Brotherhood figure: Less than 2000 outside Egypt's presidential palace

Ahram Online , Tuesday 4 Dec 2012

Secretary-general of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood says number of demonstrators outside presidential palace for Tuesday rally against draft constitution doesn't exceed 2000

Muslim Brotherhood Secretary-General Mahmoud Hussein on Tuesday evening stated that the number of protesters currently outside Egypt's presidential palace in Cairo were less than 2000, contradicting reports from eyewitnesses present at the scene.

Speaking to Al-Ahram's Arabic-language news website, Hussein described protesters outside the palace as "a small group with no political weight whose numbers don't exceed 2000."

Protesters rallied to the presidential palace on Tuesday to voice opposition to President Mohamed Morsi's 22 November constitutional declaration and subsequent decision to put Egypt's recently-finalised draft constitution to a popular vote in mid-December.

Ahram Online reporters on the scene, however, report "hundreds of thousands" of demonstrators outside the presidential palace.

Morsi's constitutional declaration is viewed by much of Egypt's political opposition as giving the president dictatorial powers. The draft constitution, meanwhile, was drawn up by a Constituent Assembly seen by non-Islamist movements and some independent groups as having been dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist parties.

Hussein stressed that all Egyptians enjoyed the right to peaceful protest, but asserted that certain elements of the opposition were insistent on using violent means – including attacks on security forces – to express their opinions.

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