Protesters gather at Tahrir square during a demonstration against president Muhammad Morsi in Cairo, Nov. 30, 2012. Egypt's Constituent Assembly (CA) approved almost unanimously the final draft of constitution early Friday morning. (Xinhua/Amru Salahuddien)
by Chen Cong
CAIRO, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of Egyptians flocked Friday to central Cairo's Tahrir square joining a "million-man" protest dubbed "the victim's dream," hours after a draft constitution was rushed through by the Constituent Assembly (CA).
Earlier, some civil, liberal and leftist parties had announced a rally Friday to protest against the new constitutional declaration issued by President Mohamed Morsi last week, uncovering the reality that the Egypt's transition period is still prevailed by divisions and conflicts between the presidency and the judicial system as well as between the civil forces and Islamic forces.
The new constitutional declaration stipulated that all laws, decrees and constitutional declarations issued by the president since June 30, 2012, when he assumed office, are final and unchallengeable by anybody.
Branding the president's decisions as "revolutionary," Presidency spokesman Yasser Ali said that no judicial body is entitled to dissolve the Shura Council (upper house) or the CA.
However, the protesters from the April 6 movement, Revolutionary Youth Coalition, Free Egyptians Party, Wafd Party, Kefaya movement, and other political associations considered the constitutional declaration as Morsi's adoption of sweeping powers, calling for abolishing the declaration, re-drafting the constitution "which takes all Egyptians' views," and avenging the victims during last year's unrest.
At least three people have been killed and more than 600 injured during the nationwide protests since the declaration issued.
Meanwhile, the approval of the disputed draft constitution piled pressure on the current administration. Although Morsi gave the assembly two more months until Feb. 12, 2013 to complete its work, the Islamist-dominated assembly surprisingly put their draft constitution to a final vote on Thursday.
The voting lasted nearly 17 hours and the approved version will be referred to Morsi later in the day. If Morsi gives a nod to the draft, a referendum will be prepared to decide whether to implement it.
A total of 85 members of the 100-people assembly attended the session and voted for 234 articles of the draft constitution one by one, while the rest members withdrew from it.
Former Arab League chief Amr Moussa, was among the boycotting members and he participated in Friday's rally. He said that he was shocked that the CA voted in only one night over all the constitution articles and termed it as "catastrophic," official MENA news agency quoted him as saying.
He stressed that his rejection to the declaration is irrevocable, urging all political powers to unite and participate actively in the protests.
Amid sounds of censure over its quick procedures, CA's Chief Hossam Gharyani said during the voting session that the body did not race through the charter, confirming each article of the draft spent averagely 300 hours to discuss and finalize.
During the voting, the assembly agreed on several divisive articles of the draft, such as the status of Sharia (Islamic law) in Egyptian legislation.
"Islam is the state religion. Arabic is the official language. Principle of Sharia is the main source of legislation," the second article of the draft stated.
To support Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood has decided Thursday to hold a rally on Saturday near Cairo University rather than the iconic Tahrir Square, where the civil forces will extend their calling at the same day for re-forming a constitution writing body and pulling down current cabinet.
Meanwhile, protesters across Egypt flooded to public areas after the Friday prayers, expressing their support or objection toward the constitutional declaration.
Security forces reinforced their presence around key government facilities, especially the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) headquarters, police stations and prisons, after several FJP's offices had been attacked during recent clashes, MENA reported.
In Alexandria governorate, demonstrators who gathered outside General Ibrahim Mosque called for canceling the declaration and the draft constitution, as well as stopping the referendum for the draft.
For his part, Morsi vowed Thursday before the charter approved that he will stop anyone from extending Egypt's transitional period, asserting that he was keen on all opinions of every political parties.
CAIRO, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) --Egyptian President MohamedMorsion Thursday vowed to stop anyone from extending the transitional period in Egypt, asserting that he was keen on all opinions of every political parties as thousands of protesters continued their demonstration against Morsi's constitutional declaration.
"The declaration is necessary to meet the need of the current stage in Egypt, there is no way to autocracy and dictatorship," said Morsi in a televised interview on state TV. Full story