Islamists rally behind Mursi as Egypt’s rifts widen | Pakistan Today

Islamists rally behind Mursi as Egypt’s rifts widen

Tens of thousands of Islamists demonstrated in Cairo on Saturday in support of President Mohamed Mursi, who is racing through a constitution to try to defuse opposition fury over his newly expanded powers.
“The people want the implementation of God’s law,” chanted at least 50,000 flag-waving demonstrators, many of them bussed in from the countryside to pack streets near Cairo University.
Mursi was expected later in the day to set a date for a referendum on the constitution hastily approved by an Islamist-dominated drafting assembly on Friday after a 19-hour session. “We will certainly present the constitution to the president tonight,” Mohamed al-Beltagy, a Muslim Brotherhood leader and a member of the constituent assembly, told Reuters.
The presidency said the handover would take place at 7 p.m. (1700 GMT) at a convention centre in Cairo. Mursi plunged Egypt into a new crisis last week when he gave himself extensive powers and put his decisions beyond judicial challenge, saying this was a temporary measure to speed Egypt’s democratic transition until the new constitution is in place. His assertion of authority in a decree issued on Nov. 22, a day after he won world praise for brokering a Gaza truce between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist Hamas movement, dismayed his opponents and widened divisions among Egypt’s 83 million people. Two people have been killed and hundreds wounded in protests by disparate opposition forces drawn together and re-energised by a decree they see as a dictatorial power grab. Tens of thousands of Egyptians had protested against Mursi on Friday. “The people want to bring down the regime,” they chanted in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, echoing the trademark slogan of the revolts against Hosni Mubarak and Arab leaders elsewhere. Rival demonstrators threw stones after dark in the northern city of Alexandria and a town in the Nile Delta. Similar clashes erupted again briefly in Alexandria on Saturday, state TV said.
‘COMPLETE DEFEAT’: Mohamed Noshi, 23, a pharmacist from Mansoura, north of Cairo, said he had joined the rally in Cairo to support Mursi and his decree. “Those in Tahrir don’t represent everyone. Most people support Mursi and aren’t against the decree,” he said.
Mohamed Ibrahim, a hardline Salafi Islamist scholar and a member of the constituent assembly, said secular-minded Egyptians had been in a losing battle from the start.



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