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Egypt

Egyptians protest against constitution

Egyptians opposed to the constitution put forward by President Mohammed Morsi are protesting in Cairo. The demonstrations come a day after Egypt's top prosecutor felt compelled to resign.

Opponents to Egypt's government on Tuesday took to the streets of Cairo in protest against a constitution that has divided the county but looks set to be approved by referendum.

Hundreds of activists gathered outside the presidential palace, chanting "Revolution, revolution, for the sake of the constitution" and called on Morsi to "Leave, leave, you coward!". Numbers were down in comparison to previous demonstrations.

"I have been camping here for weeks and will continue to do so until the constitution that divided the nation, and for which people died, gets scrapped," said 30-year-old Mohamed Adel, who was protesting at the presidential palace.

The protests came a day after the political wing of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood said that its unofficial tallies pointed to 57 percent public support for the draft document in the first round of voting, which took place on December 15. The National Salvation Front opposition coalition has claimed voting violations, allegations which the Ministry of Justice said it was making steps to investigate.

With the second round of voting taking place in districts considered more sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood on December 22, the constitution appears likely to pass.

Judiciary turmoil

On Monday, Morsi also faced turmoil on the judicial front: Egypt's top prosecutor Talaat Ibrahim resigned amid pressure, less than a month after Morsi appointed him to the post.

Public prosecutors had staged a sit-in outside Ibrahim's office on Monday, demanding that he step down. They argued Morsi's appointment of the prosecutor was inappropriate, saying that the Supreme Judicial Council, which oversees Egypt's judicial system, should have taken the decision.

Following the resignation, Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood posted a statement on its Facebook page, branding the enforced resignation a "crime." The organization also said that the Supreme Judiciary Council should refuse to accept Ibrahim's resignation.

Discord within the courts has slowed the voting process as Egypt holds a referendum on a new potential constitution. Several judges have boycotted the vote, refusing to play their role as supervisors of the ballot; this is why the referendum was split into two days of voting for logistical reasons.

sej/msh (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)