12/12/2012, 00.00
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Cairo, Muslim, Christian, secular and veiled women march for democracy

Hundreds of thousands of people in Tahrir Square and in front of the presidential palace demonstrated against the constitutional referendum of 15 December. The Islamist front loses support. The liberal movements the true voice of Egypt.

Cairo (AsiaNews) - Hundreds of thousands of people, Muslims, Christians, fully veiled women, religious leaders, have taken to the streets against President Mohamed Morsi and the newly formed Islamist "dictatorship". André Azzam, Egyptian journalist, told AsiaNews that "with today's demonstrations the Egyptian population wants to shout out to the whole world its desire for democracy and a real change in the country."

Stretching until late at night the peaceful marches were organized in five different parts of Cairo, before the presidential palace (in the district of Heliopolis) and Tahrir Square, and in the cities of Alexandria and Assiut. In the district of Heliopolis, the seat of the presidency, protesters climbed over the barriers built by the army to prevent access to the area. Simultaneously, Islamic movements close to President Morsi, organized two major demonstrations in front of the mosques in Al-Rabaa Adawiy - far from Heliopolis - and al Nour, in the district of Abbaseya. Despite the fear of a confrontation between the two sides there was no fighting. Salafis and other extremist Islamic movements organized sit-ins and demonstrations in front of the headquarters of the Constitutional Court, the State Council and the Smart Village (Giza), a building that is home to some satellite TV channels close to the democratic opposition. Here the Salafis threatened to "cleanse" the place because place their activities do not comply with Islamic law. Today there is a meeting between the leader of the opposition and some members of the government to reach an agreement on the referendum. The initiative was organized by Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Minister of Defence.

According to Azzam, the Islamists are loosing ground to the opposition. They have mustered "only a few thousand people," compared to "the millions" vaunted in recent days. "The front led by the Muslim Brotherhood does not represent the majority of Egyptians - said the journalist - the truth is that Egypt marched in Tahrir and in front of the presidential palace, so spontaneously, without coercion or indications of ringleaders ".

For the journalist, "the situation is tense and unpredictable." The behavior of the president and the the Muslim Brotherhood government has not only caused political damage, but also social. It has forced the population to see a gradual Islamization of the institutions, the writing of a constitution that is not representative of society and the disintegration of already poor local economy, which suffers from the "schizophrenic" Islamist decisions of the establishment.

"On 8 July - says Azzam - Morsi convened the parliament annulled by the Constitutional Court to dissolve it then a few hours later, just to test public opinion. In November, he launched the infamous laws giving him temporary full powers and later declared he would annul them. But none of this happened. " Yesterday, surprisingly, he did approve a measure to raise taxes on gasoline, gas and tobacco. Fearing a general insurrection the President again pretended to backtrack, promising the annulment of the decree. It was, however, confirmed by the government, which has in fact contradicted its own leader. Like other laws even the dreaded tax increase will only be delayed"(SC)

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See also
Cairo, tens of thousands besiege the presidential palace. Morsi flees for safety
Elections in seven months, the deaths in Cairo cause the provisional government to move quickly
With al-Sisi seemingly ready to run, Egypt's presidential elections set for April
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As military ultimatum expires, millions of Egyptians pour into the streets


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