“Morsillini” Calls For Referendum

An estimated 100,000 protesters gathered at mosques in Northern Cairo yesterday before marching on the Presidential Palace in what they dubbed as the final warning protests. Embattled President Morsi, called ‘Morsillini’ by his critics, has left the palace after protesters breached the palatial security cordon to protest right next to the palace walls.

Photo Credit: Topical Press Agency/Getty Images, composed by Al Arabiya

Photo Credit: Topical Press Agency/Getty Images, composed by Al Arabiya

As we have previously reported, protesters are demanding that Morsi rescind his autonomous decree, drop plans for a referendum attempting to push through an Islamic, Sharia style Constitution and agree on a new, more representative assembly to draft an appropriate constitution of Egypt.

On Saturday, in response to calls for support by the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamist crowds gathered outside Cairo University, near Alexandria, waving signs and calling for the imposition of “God’s law,” the Voice of America reported. According to Reuters, flag-waving demonstrators, many bussed in from the countryside chanted, “The people want the implementation of God’s law.”

At Saturday’s rally, Mohamed Morsi announced that a snap referendum would be held on 15 December to decide whether the Islamist Constitution rolled out by the Morsi–Muslim Brotherhood coalition will become the next constitution of Egypt. The message is clear: a vote for the constitution will bring stability and a vote against it will not.

According to opposition leaders, the Constitution contains no wording protecting the rights of Christians or women, nor does it make provisions for disastrous events such as an incapacitated president. Morsi’s supporters are hoping that in spite of calls to boycott the referendum, enough members of the judiciary will be available to oversee it.

Prime Minister Hisham Kandil, explained in an interview with CNN that while the Constitution is nowhere near perfect, it is their hope that Egyptians will succumb to desire for stability and vote in favor of it. Reuters quoted a Western diplomat who said that the Islamists are counting on a popular desire for restored normality and economic stability. “All the messages from the Muslim Brotherhood are that a vote for the constitution is one for stability and a vote against is one for uncertainty,” he said, adding that the cost of the strategy was a “breakdown in consensus politics”.

Consensus politics appears to be a phenomenon of the past, but protester fatigue is certainly not. The majority of non Islamist groups in Egypt have rallied under the banner of the National Salvation Front (NSF), formed the very day after Morsi issued his dictatorial decree. Despite efforts by the Muslim Brotherhood, the NSF pulled hundreds of thousands of protesters to Tahrir Square last week, on Friday and early this week. The Daily Mail has reported that the Muslim Brotherhood is allegedly hiring gangs to rape and beat protestors. Alarming stories of gang rapes of protesters have started surfacing in social media sites as Twitchy – a Twitter aggregator – has demonstrated. Simultaneous complaints of excessive police brutality have also come to the fore.

Mohamad ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who once headed the U.N. nuclear watchdog has stepped forward in the role of coordinator for the National Salvation Front. His fiery opinion piece in the Financial Times on Monday, December 3 sums up the current energy as protests surge. “Almost two years ago Egypt experienced an awakening. Incredibly, President Morsi and the Brotherhood believe that, with a few strokes of a pen, they can slide us back into a coma. That will not happen. If they continue to try, they risk an eruption into violence and chaos that will destroy the fabric of Egyptian society,” he concludes.

A protester outside the Presidential palace in Egypt has a clear message for President Obama:

Obama bith

 

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