Cairo: A large number of Mohammad Mursi’s supporters came out on Saturday with pictures of their President and Egyptian flags to express their vehement support.
The rally was conducted all over Egypt and the supporters chanted their approval of President’s decision.
Earlier the Muslim Brotherhood activists appealed to the people to come out to “support Islamic law.” They claimed that the turnout would reveal that the public supports the decisions taken by the first freely elected President.
A number of Muslim clerics in Friday sermons in the southern city of Assiut called the president's opponents "enemies of God and Islam."
The Islamist-led assembly that worked on the draft for months passed it in a rushed, 16-hour session that lasted until sunrise Friday. Opponents, however, accused Mursi of grabbing near-dictatorial powers by sidelining the one branch of government he doesn't control.
The protest at Tahrir Square took place to prevent Mursi from calling nationwide referendum on the draft which it must pass to come into effect. The top judges of the country refused to monitor the referendum, rendering it invalid.
The week-old crisis has already seen clashes between the two camps that left two dead and hundreds injured. On Friday, Mursi opponents and supporters rained stones and firebombs on each other in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria and the southern city of Luxor.
The vote was abruptly moved up to pass the draft before Egypt's Constitutional Court rules on Sunday whether to dissolve the assembly. Liberal, secular and Christian members and secular members had already quit the council to protest what they call Islamists' hijacking of the process.
The draft is to be sent to Mursi on Saturday to decide on a date for a referendum, possibly in mid-December.
The draft has a distinctive Islamic bent — enough to worry many that civil liberties could be restricted, though its provisions for enforcing Shariah, or Islamic law, are not as firm as ultraconservatives wished.
Protests were first sparked when Mursi last week issued decrees granting himself sweeping powers that neutralized the judiciary. Mursi said the move was needed to stop the courts — where anti-Islamist or Mubarak-era judges hold many powerful posts — from dissolving the assembly and further delaying Egypt's transition.
Friday's crowd in Tahrir appeared comparable in size to the more than 200,000 anti-Mursi protesters who thronged the central plaza three days earlier. Tens of thousands more marched Friday in Alexandria and other cities.
The atmosphere was festive, with fireworks going off and banners stretched over the crowd. One showed a popular pop star singing in a cartoon bubble, "Your constitution is void." More tents sprung up in the plaza's central traffic circle, as protesters sought to increase their week-old sit-in.
Figures from a new leadership coalition took the stage to address the crowds. The coalition, known as the National Salvation Front, includes prominent democracy advocate Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, leftist Hamdeen Sabbahi and former Arab League chief Amr Moussa.
First Published: Saturday, December 01, 2012, 09:45