Cairo, 2 Shafar 1434/15 December 2012 (MINA) – The Egyptian Islamist Parties announced they would form joint citizen committees to protect polling places during the constitutional referendum, and to secure Muslim Brotherhood headquarters against possible attacks, according to Egypt Independent (EI) reports received by Mi’raj News Agency (MINA) Saturday.
“Mobilizing for the ‘yes’ vote will continue until the day of referendum, as the parties will work on mobilizing voters by distributing instructions that explain the importance of voting and reading the constitution,” said Khaled al-Sherif, the media advisor to the Jama’a al-Islamiya.
The Islamic Parties were The Jamaah al-Islamiya, its Construction and Development Party, and Muslim Brotherhood.
“Working spaces for the party and the group have been established in all governorates, and the group’s shura council is in permanent session to take any quick decisions,” he continued.
Sherif also said that the Interior Ministry has to perform its duties by protecting Tahrir Square protesters after rumors about plans to attack them have been circulated.
Pro-constitution Islamist rally continues into Friday evening
Hundreds of protesters gathered in Tahrir Square after Friday prayers for the “No to the Referendum” protest, while thousands of rival Islamist protesters assembled in outside the Rabaa al-Adaweya Mosque in Nasr City to support the constitutional referendum.
In the early evening, pro-constitution demonstrators proclaimed from the stage in front of the mosque that the “Islamic current is not weak,” but rather is strong and can bring retribution to the martyrs of the presidential palace clashes.
That retribution will not take the form of thuggery, but rather will come through maintaining the unity of the country and spreading justice, protesters said.
They chanted: “Oh martyr rest in peace, we will continue the struggle,” “Down with the feloul,” “God is our patron, and they (the opposition) have no patron,” and “God is our objective, and they have no objective.”
Former parliamentary speaker Mohsen Rady addressed the crowd, saying: “We thank everyone who participated in drafting the new Egyptian constitution.” He claimed that the opposition seeks neither stability nor development.
“The Egyptian people are aware that the draft constitution is the greatest constitution in Egypt, and even in whole world. It will be the source of legislation for the coming Parliament, which the people will elect very soon,” Rady said.
“Yes to the Sharia, yes to the constitution, and no to the fake opposition,” he continued.
“The battle is now between those who want the revolution to succeed and those who want it to fail, and certain political parties who offer nothing, but merely keep attacking (us) through the media,” Rady said.
Earlier in the day, members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Salafi Dawah and the Jama’a al-Islamiya had formed a human chain as they demonstrated for a ‘yes’ vote in Saturday’s referendum.
The protesters raised banners that read: “Yes to the constitution,” and “Sharia and legitimacy say Morsy is the president of the republic.”
The rally blocked traffic in the area
Meanwhile, at the rival protest in Tahrir Square, protesters chanted, “Oh martyr we swear by your blood, another revolution anew,” and “The people demand the fall of the regime.”
They hung images of the martyrs of the 25 January revolution, and street vendors spread across the square in anticipation of the arrival more protesters.
Cairo and other cities have seen a series of often violent demonstrations over the past three weeks since Morsy assumed sweeping new powers to push through the constitution.
The first round of voting on Saturday will take place in Cairo and other major cities. Official results won’t be announced until after the second round, though it is likely that details will emerge to give a good steer on the first-day figures, which are expected to show a strong vote in favor.
Protesters surround mosque in Alexandria
Thousands have surrounded the Leader Ibrahim Mosque in Alexandria on Friday night, saying that Salaifs have escaped inside the mosque after having fired at protesters during clashes earlier in the day.
Fighting had erupted earlier between supporters of President Mohamed Morsy and their opponents around the Leader Ibrahim Mosque area after hundreds staged a protest against the constitutional referendum. Protesters said Morsy’s insistence on holding the referendum before reaching national consensus on the draft was a “challenge to the people’s will.”
Inside the mosque, Sheikh Ahmad al-Mahalawy warned of “blood bathes if police do not intervene.” He warned that his followers will have to disperse protesters if police fail to do so, adding that many of his supporters called and suggested help, but till then, he chose not to resort to them.
“Differences of opinion are respected. But the house of God should not be besieged like this,” Mahalawy was heard as saying through the mosque’s loudspeakers.
Nassar al-Abd, head of investigations in Alexandria, called on protesters to leave, telling them that none of those who fired at them earlier in the day are inside the mosque.
But protesters said that Salafis inside the mosque are ready to wage an attack against them and that the Facebook page of Hazemoun, the supporters of Salafi preacher and former presidential candidate Hazem Abou Ismail, warned of “waging Jihad” against them.
Nineteen people have been wounded in the clashes so far, said ambulance authority head Mohamed Sultan. Six were taken to the hospital, and 13 received medical attention on site, he said. Three cars were also set ablaze during the fighting.
During the earlier demonstration, protesters chanted: “The people want to bring down the regime,” and “I am not an infidel, down with the rule of the supreme guide,” referring to Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie.
They raised banners that read: “The people want to try Morsy,” “The revolution continues,” and “The Constituent Assembly is void, and the constitution is sectarian.”
The protesters distributed leaflets that rejected the constitution draft. The leaflets included 10 articles labeled as “mines,” saying that to have such a constitution after the revolution was a “disaster.”
“[These articles] suppress freedoms and give absolute powers to the president,” the leaflets read. It added that the draft constitution does not protect social rights because it does not commit the government to achieve social welfare, equality, social justice and a fair distribution of income.
However, a pro-Morsy atmosphere reigned inside the mosque where the Friday prayers were held.
“The media deceives citizens and claims that the majority are against the president, and that President Mohamed Morsy has but few days in power, after which he will leave,” Mahalawy said earlier in the mosque during the Friday prayer. (T/R-010/R-006)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)