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Egypt

Riot police use tear gas against anti-Morsi protesters in Egypt

Egyptian riot police have fired tear gas at protesters demonstrating against President Mohammed Morsi near the presidential palace in Cairo. Egyptian independent newspapers have also halted work in protest of the leader.

Several thousand protesters encircled the presidential palace on at least three sides in what they dubbed "last warning" protests against Morsi. The Egyptian leader has angered opponents most recently with a Nov. 22 decree that expanded his powers.

The protesters cut through barbed wire erected a few hundred meters from the palace, prompting police to fire the tear gas, AFP correspondents said.

The demonstrators waved Egyptian flags, chanting for the downfall of the regime and denouncing the Muslim Brotherhood, with which Morsi was affiliated prior to being elected.

Other opposition supporters were maintaining a sit-in in Tahrir Square for the 12th day.

On November 22, President Morsi granted himself new sweeping powers and severely limited those of the Egyptian courts. Morsi's decree placed his decisions beyond judicial oversight, as well as those of the Islamist-dominated assembly that drafted the constitution.

Egypt's media protests "tyranny"

While government newspapers went to print as usual on Tuesday, other media sources joined the masses in protest.

Egyptian independent and opposition newspapers refused to publish their Tuesday editions in protest of a lack of press freedom enshrined in the new controversial draft constitution. The move is in order to "stand up to tyranny," the independent daily Al-Tahrir wrote on its website.

Private television channels are to join the protest by refusing to broadcast on Wednesday, newspapers reported.

A popular referendum on the draft consitution is planned for December 15. Among the provisions of the new constitution is an article which defines "the principles of Shariah" as the main source of legislation. It also adds new Islamic references.

While Morsi has pledged to relinquish his extra powers if Egyptians vote to ratify the constitution, the opposition is vowing to keep up the pressure on the president and his Muslim brotherhood.

hc/kms (Reuters, AFP, dpa)