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Middle East
Crowds rally against Islamists in Egypt
Hundreds gather in Cairo square to protest against influence of Muslim Brotherhood and others on constitution drafting.
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2012 21:28
Protesters in Cairo compared President Mohamed Morsi to deposed President Hosni Mubarak [Reuters]

A large crowd estimated to range between a few hundred to a few thousand people rallied in Cairo on Friday to protest against Islamist influence in the drafting of Egypt's new constitution.

Shouting slogans against the Muslim Brotherhood, which controls the country's presidency and the constituent assembly, the crowd marched from several points and assembled in Tahrir Square, the scene of violent clashes during a similar protest last week.

Referencing the name of the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, protesters chanted "freedom, justice, down with the constituent assembly".

The assembly, which has been drafting the constitution for several months, was chosen by a now-defunct parliament that was also dominated by Brotherhood politicians. The second-most powerful group in parliament had been the Nour Party, the political wing of the country's ultraconservative Salafi movement.


Clashes a week ago between Brotherhood supporters and their opponents left more than 100 people injured. Some Brotherhood officials voiced regret over the violence, and the movement did not call for a counter-protest this time.

On Friday, protesters shouted against Mohamed Badie, the Brotherhood's ideological leader, and President Mohamed Morsi, himself a former high-ranking Brotherhood leader, whom they compared to ousted ruler Hosni Mubarak.

The assembly released a draft this month that was met suspicion by rights groups and liberals seeking to protect personal freedoms.

Morsi has pledged to defend the cause of Egypt's January 2011 uprising, but some opponents say he is repeating history by monopolising power.

"Down, down Morsi-Mubarak," a few hundred protesters yelled as they marched towards Tahrir Square, cradle of the 2011 uprising. "Hold on, country. Freedom is being born."

At least 20 organisations ranging from human rights groups to revolutionary socialists, opponents of military trials,
nationalists and liberals joined the protest.

Some opposition parties are trying to unite to avoid another poor showing in a parliamentary election, due to take place once the long-delayed constitution is ratified in a referendum.

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