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Egypt's Islamists Hold Rival Rally In Support Of President

December 01, 2012

Thousands of Egyptians have gathered in Cairo for a mass rally in support of President Muhammad Morsi and a controversial draft constitution approved by his Islamist allies.

The draft constitution, which was passed on November 30 by an Islamist-led Constituent Assembly, has been condemned by liberals and Christians who say the charter threatens to undermine basic rights.

The rally on December 1 was called by Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood to counter mass protests held by opponents this week.

Opposition supporters, who have set up tents in Cairo's Tahrir Square, have voiced their anger at Morsi's recent decrees, which grant him sweeping powers.

The demonstrators, who stayed in the square overnight, continued their protests on December 1. Many held banners saying "No admittance for Muslim Brotherhood" and "No decree, no constitution, your turn to leave is coming, Morsi."

One of the antigovernment protestors at Tahrir Square was Ahmed Ramadan. He told Reuters that opposition rallies against Morsi would not end until the president stepped down.

"The protest will be extended until he steps down, because he is not the right person to legislate," Ramadan said.

"The people elected him to make reforms for the country, not to draft a constitution that works perfectly for himself. We want him to make reforms for the country."

Ibrahim Shallouf, another opposition supporter, said the draft constitution approved by Morsi's Islamist allies did not represent all Egyptians.

"The Muslim Brotherhood clinched on the majority of the members of the Constitutional Assembly and then they drafted their constitution according to what suits them, but what we want is a constitution that represents all the people," he said.

"And if they attempt to pass it forcibly, we will say no."

Morsi is expected to approve the draft constitution this weekend, putting in motion plans for a nationwide referendum that could be held as early as mid-December.

Morsi said approval of the constitution would cancel his recent decree giving himself broad powers to issue decisions without judicial oversight.

With reporting by Reuters and AP

Source: http://www.rferl.org/content/ egypt-morsi/24786299.html

Copyright (c) 2012. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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