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Egyptian Opposition Calls For Protests Against Referendum On Constitution

Posted: December 9, 2012

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The move came a day after President Mohammed Morsi annulled a decree that gave him sweeping new powers last month, but said he would go ahead with the Dec. 15 referendum. At a news conference Sunday, the coalition group said the draft constitution "does not represent the Egyptian people."

Protesters chant slogans during a demonstration in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, on Sunday.

Protesters chant slogans during a demonstration in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, on Sunday. Petr David Josek

Egypt's main opposition group has called for mass protests against President Mohammed Morsi's decision to go ahead with a referendum on the country's draft constitution.

"We do not recognize the draft constitution because it does not represent the Egyptian people," said Sameh Ashour, who spoke on behalf of the National Salvation Front, the main umbrella group for opposition parties.

The comments, which were made at a news conference Sunday, were reported by Al Jazeera and other media organizations.

As we reported Saturday, Morsi annulled a decree that gave him sweeping powers, but said he would go ahead with the referendum. Here's what we said about the opposition to Morsi's moves:

"Outrage had been spilling into the streets and around the presidential palace in Cairo over Morsi's executive decree and the proposed constitution, which the opposition says leaves out the rights of women, secular Egyptians and Christians."

Al Arabiya, reporting from Sunday's news conference, quoted a coalition spokesman, saying: "Egypt now is in a real revolution against the rule of the Brotherhood."

The Associated Press reported Sunday that a national dialogue committee said the Dec. 15 referendum on the draft constitution will be held on schedule.

You can read a background of the events that led to the current impasse in Egypt here.

Update at 3:17 p.m. ET, Morsi Orders Military To Maintain Security

The president has ordered the military to maintain security and protect state institutions until after the results of the Dec. 15 referendum. That's according to The Associated Press, which said the decision was published in the official gazette on Sunday.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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