Clashes in Egyptian cities reveal ongoing divisions

Egyptian police have fired tear gas as supporters of President Mohamed Morsi clashed with opposition activists besieging a mosque in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria.

Friday night’s clashes come just hours before voting is to start around the country on a divisive new constitution.

The protests started after a Muslim cleric appealed for support for the constitution, and protesters surrounded the mosque where the cleric took refuge.

Al Jazeera’s Rawya Rageh reporting from near the mosque in Alexandria said the street battles were “raging” well into the evening.

“Ambulances have been rushing in every direction, we saw several people being carried out with bloodied faces,” Rageh said, describing those injured in the clashes.

As the standoff continued, more of the cleric’s supporters were arriving and clashing with those outside the mosque, at which time the police began fired tear gas at both groups, Rageh said.

The National Salvation Front of opposition groups has called on its supporters to vote “no” in a constitutional referendum that is scheduled for December 15 and 22…

…The draft constitution, approved by the constituent assembly last month, has become the focus of Egypt’s worst political crisis since the June election of President Morsi.

Rival mass rallies held by both supporters and opponents of Morsi have become almost a daily occurrence in Cairo.

Clashes between the two groups killed at least seven people and injured hundreds more last week. READ MORE…

Al Jazeera reports further on the voting proceedings taking place in the cities of Cairo and Alexandria today.

While various Islamic leaders in the capital are urging citizens to vote ‘yes,’ Head of the Conference Party, Amr Moussa, is calling for voters not to support the draft constitution, Aswat Masriya reports in a recent article.

Al Jazeera reports on the ongoing rallies instigated by the divisive constitution in pictures.

image credit: Amr Emam/IRIN

 

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