Egypt saw intense violence today between secular and liberal Egyptians who oppose recent actions by President Mohamed Morsi and the Islamists who support him.At least two have reportedly died and at least 211 are wounded.
Hundreds of protesters from both sides threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at each other outside of the presidential palace in Cairo before gunshot were heard and riot police showed up to create a barrier between the opposing factions.
Three presidential aides resigned today, and one commented that Egypt “is bigger than a narrow-minded elite. Egypt will continue its revolution … We can no longer stay silent because [the Muslim Brotherhood] have harmed the nation and the revolution and we need to rebuild Egypt…the youth are the ones who took to the front lines to serve the revolution.”
Al Jazeera correspondent Sherine Tadros tweeted “We are fast approaching the point where withdrawing the constitution or the decree won’t be enough” and later added “Saddest day I’ve ever seen in
Shadi Hamid, the director of research at the Brookings Institute’s Doha centre, tweeted about the Islamist/non-Islamist polarization in Egyptian society and then commented on the rise in intensity.
It’s worrying that both sides are increasingly using the language of battle and talking about a fight for “life and death.” #Egypt
— Shadi Hamid (@shadihamid) December 5, 2012
The protests began in the wake of a November 21 presidential decree that made Morsi’s decisions immune to judicial oversight and protected the Islamic-dominated assembly writing the new constitution. After the assembly hastily finished a conservative-leaning draft constitution, Morsi called for a nationwide referendum for December 15 to approve the document.
Despite the turmoil, on Wednesday Vice President Mahmud Mekki said the referendum would go ahead as planned and as we noted yesterday, the opposition doesn’t have many options besides protesting.
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