Egypt to push on with referendum despite opposition protest

By REUTERS
December 4, 2012 14:15

 
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CAIRO - Egypt's opposition called for mass protests on Tuesday against the Islamist-led government's drive to hold a snap referendum on a new constitution after sweeping aside judicial obstacles.

President Mohamed Morsi ignited a storm of protest when he temporarily assumed extraordinary powers on Nov. 22 to prevent a judiciary still dominated by appointees of ousted predecessor Hosni Mubarak from derailing a troubled political transition.

Riot police mustered around the presidential palace after activists said they would march towards it later in the day in a "last warning" to Morsi, an Islamist narrowly elected by popular vote in June.

A few hundred protesters gathered near his house in a suburb west of Cairo, chanting slogans against his decree and against the Muslim Brotherhood. Police closed the road to stop them from coming any closer, a security official said.

Liberals, leftists, Christians and others have accused Morsi of staging a dictatorial power grab to steamroller through a constitution drafted by an assembly packed with Islamists.

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