Egyptians vote on controversial gov't reforms

Egyptians began voting Monday in a referendum on constitutional amendments that opponents have condemned as a sham and a setback to democratic progress. A variety of opposition parties have called for a boycott, making the referendum a test of popular support for the government's program of gradually introducing limited political reforms. The largest opposition bloc, the Muslim Brotherhood, has said it would stage demonstrations despite a government ban, raising fears of clashes with police similar to those that marred the May 2005 referendum on constitution change. On the eve of polling, President Hosni Mubarak's son Gamal urged people to vote in large numbers, saying the 34 amendments were a "very important step in our march toward further reform on the political side."