Thousands Rally in Support of Egypt's Morsi
by Edward Yeranian December 01, 2012
A large crowd of supporters of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi turned out to demonstrate in his favor Saturday in Cairo and other towns and cities across the country. The rally was in a different part of the capital, away from Tahrir Square, where an around-the-clock protest rally against Morsi and his actions is now in its ninth day.
Thousands of the president's supporters waved Egyptian flags and chanted slogans in his favor Saturday in front of Cairo University in Giza. Speakers harangued the crowd, demanding that Egypt's new draft constitution be adopted.
Activists from both the Muslim Brotherhood group and the more hardline Salafist Nour Party led the crowd in chants of "the people want to apply God's law." Islamist supporters of Morsi insist the new constitution must be based on Islamic sharia law.
The rump committee that drafted Egypt's proposed new constitution Friday is expected to present the document to Morsi in a matter of hours. Secular and liberal members have withdrawn from the committee, complaining that Islamists are over-represented in the group, and dominating its work.
Sheikh Younes Makhloun, a Salafist member of the constitutional committee, defended its work before the crowd at Cairo University.
Makhloun said what he calls "God's law," or Islamic sharia law, should be the basis of Egypt's legal system, since Egypt is a Muslim nation and must follow the precepts of Islam.
At the same time, a smaller crowd of Morsi's opponents protested in Cairo's Tahrir Square, at times chanting slogans against him and the proposed constitution. Members of 35 secular, liberal and leftist groups that support the protest are continuing a sit-in there, but there was no call for a mass demonstration in the square on Saturday.
Tareq, a young demonstrator, said many people from the opposition stayed away from Saturday's protests to avoid pro-Morsi crowds.
A large crowd of opposition protesters turned out for the groups' million-man march on Tuesday, Tareq said, but concerns about possible clashes with Islamist militants kept many people at home Saturday.
Fighting between supporters and foes of the president and the new constitution broke out early Saturday in Alexandria. Rocks were thrown at an anti-Morsi crowd that had gathered in front of the Qaid Ibrahim mosque in Egypt's second largest city.
A number of Arab analysts say the worries about increased violence are valid. They see the political situation in Egypt as deadlocked, with Egyptian society divided down the middle between support or opposition to President Morsi.
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