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Mass pro- and anti-Morsi rally in Egypt a day after controversial constitution approved (PHOTOS)

Published time: December 01, 2012 13:03
Edited time: December 01, 2012 22:25

Thousands of Islamists stage a rally in front of Cairo's University on December 1, 2012, in support of Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi's new expanded powers and the drafting of a contested charter, in a clear show of Egypt's widening polarisation. (AFP Photo / Khaled Desouki)

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Thousands of President Morsi’s supporters and opponents across Egypt are protesting over his expanded powers. The rallies come prior to the ratification of a new constitution. However, the document still may be dissolved by top judges.

­Thousands of people holding portraits of Morsi and flags have gathered outside Cairo University in the capital chanting pro-government slogans.

Pro-Morsi protesters chanted "The people support the president's decision!" and held posters reading “Yes to stability" and "Yes to Islamic law."

The demonstration has been going relatively peacefully. However, a tree fell on demonstrators in front of Cairo University, killing one person and injuring at least 15, local Aswat Masriya news website reported.

A supportive rally has been organized by the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist parties to show that the president's recent moves were endorsed by the public.

The Brotherhood initially said the rally will take place in Tahrir Square, however, later changed the location in order to avoid confrontation with opposition protesters- who have erected dozens of tents since Morsi issued his decrees last week.

Other demonstrators, against the president, are outraged over the draft constitution, which they say is “too Islamist,” as well as over the new sweeping powers the leader granted himself last week.

The opposition vowed plans to  intensify  street campaigns, civil disobedience  and  a possible march on Morsi's presidential palace to prevent him from calling a nationwide referendum on the draft.

Saturday’s demonstrations in Cairo come after days of rival rallies by president’s supporters and opponents.

In the city of Alexandria protesters also continue their demonstration. There have been reports about anti-president protesters clashing with the police forces.  

The violence started as two groups of demonstrators – supporters and opponents of Morsi – began hurling rocks at each other.

“The Egyptians are quite divided at the moment. And it’s now very critical for the political elite to realize that and to try to contain the polarization by moving ahead towards institutionalizing the politics of descent: towards having a parliament, a constitution, and therefore – elections for the parliament quite soon,” Middle East expert Doctor Omar Ashour told RT.

The draft constitution has been approved by the Islamist-dominated assembly, but can be revoked as the top court is set to decide on the assembly dissolution on Saturday.

This is despite the fact that Morsi’s emergency decree bars the judges from becoming involved.

The president is set to ratify the constitution draft later on Saturday, and he said that he would give up his expanded powers after the constitution is adopted by the referendum. The popular vote may take place as soon as in two weeks if Morsi announces its date on Saturday.

“Assuming the people of Egypt accept it by voting ‘Yes’ for the constitution, you’ll have all the constitutional declarations of the president and the previous one of the supreme counsel of the armed forces – all of them will be annulled and you’ll have the constitution as the father and the ultimate reference of all the laws in Egypt,” Ashour added.

On Friday, tens of thousands took to Tahrir Square in Cairo, chanting “The people want the fall of the regime” – one of the main slogans during the last year’s uprising. In Alexandria, pro- and anti-Morsi supporters clashed in the streets.

Egyptian al-Azhar clerics hold a giant national flag as they shout slogans at rally in front of Cairo′s University on December 1, 2012. (AFP Photo / Khaled Desouki)
Egyptian al-Azhar clerics hold a giant national flag as they shout slogans at rally in front of Cairo's University on December 1, 2012. (AFP Photo / Khaled Desouki)
Pro-Mursi protesters chant slogans in support of Egypt′s President Mohamed Mursi in Cairo December 1, 2012. (Reuters / Asmaa Waguih)
Pro-Mursi protesters chant slogans in support of Egypt's President Mohamed Mursi in Cairo December 1, 2012. (Reuters / Asmaa Waguih)
A pro-Mursi supporter carries a sign bearing a picture of Egypt′s President Mohamed Mursi while riding on a motorcycle, ahead of a rally of Muslim Brotherhood supporters, in Cairo December 1, 2012. (Reuters / Asmaa Waguih)
A pro-Mursi supporter carries a sign bearing a picture of Egypt's President Mohamed Mursi while riding on a motorcycle, ahead of a rally of Muslim Brotherhood supporters, in Cairo December 1, 2012. (Reuters / Asmaa Waguih)
Thousands of Islamists perform a prayer as they stage a rally in front of Cairo′s University on December 1, 2012.  (AFP Photo / Khaled Desouki)
Thousands of Islamists perform a prayer as they stage a rally in front of Cairo's University on December 1, 2012. (AFP Photo / Khaled Desouki)
Pro-Mursi protesters chant slogans in support of Egypt′s President Mohamed Mursi in Cairo December 1, 2012. (Reuters / Asmaa Waguih)
Pro-Mursi protesters chant slogans in support of Egypt's President Mohamed Mursi in Cairo December 1, 2012. (Reuters / Asmaa Waguih)

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