Rival Rallies Grow in Egypt as Tensions Mount over Constitution

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Common Dreams

Rival Rallies Grow in Egypt as Tensions Mount over Constitution

Crowd of thousands continues to grow at Muslim Brotherhood demonstration

by
Common Dreams staff

Supporters of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi marched through the streets of Cairo Saturday as Morsi reviewed his newly crafted constitution, which opponents say infringes on human rights and does away with gains made in the country's recent revolution.

At least 200,000 assembled outside Cairo University, waving Egyptian flags and green Islamist emblems in support of Morsi and the constitution he is promoting. Morsi is expected later in the day to set a date for a referendum to officially pass the constitution.

Demonstrators held pro-constitution banners reading "Islam is coming", "Yes to stability" and "No to corruption."

Meanwhile, thousands of anti-Morsi protesters remained camped out in Egypt's now iconic Tahrir square, awaiting word of the new constitution's approval. Morsi is expected to call for a fast moving referendum on Saturday in order to pass the constitution before Egypt's supreme constitutional court would be able to dissolve Morsi's assembly.

Anti-Morsi protesters have filled the streets across Egypt for over a week, at times clashing with Morsi supporters, following Morsi's presidential decree that gave him sweeping powers and took power away from the country's top judges -- a move that gave Morsi dictatorial stature.

Thousands of demonstrators filled Tahrir square and cities across Egypt Friday, in tense protests against the rushed draft constitution.

Morsi supporters say the constitution should ease tensions, as it will rescind Morsi's new sweeping powers once approved; however, the nature of the content of the constitution, which many say is an attack on civil liberties, women's and minority rights and freedom of religion and expression, has only heightened tensions and galvanized opposition to Morsi's rule.

Security forces reinforced their presence around key government facilities Friday, especially the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) headquarters, police stations and prisons, the sites of many clashes between pro- and anti- Morsi protesters throughout the week.

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