12/04/2012, 00.00
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Cairo, tens of thousands besiege the presidential palace. Morsi flees for safety

Police charges to keep away the demonstrators. 18 people suffer minor injuries. Youth, leaders of the democratic parties, members of the institutions, have come from all over Cairo and other parts of the country for the "last warning march." Objective: To force the president to step down. Judges united front for a boycott of the referendum is broken.

Cairo (AsiaNews) - Tens of thousands of people clashed with the Republican Guard in front of the presidential palace, 18 people were injured in the violence, none seriously. Sources close to the presidency said that Mohamed Morsi has left his residence for security reasons. Yesterday, members of democratic parties and institutions called for a general manifestation against the president and the referendum on the interim constitution written only by Islamists. The "last warning march " started at 17 (local time) from the mosque of al-Rabaa Adawaya, in the district of Nasr, and the mosque of el-Nour in Abassya, heading towards the presidential palace in Heliopolis, to show Muslim Brotherhood that at least 50% of the population is not with them. The images broadcast by al-Jazeera, but only in the Arabic version, show tens of thousands of people gathered in front of the building. Another demonstration was staged in Tahrir Square, which has become one of the symbols of the democratic protests of Egyptians.

The police fear clashes, perhaps even armed, between democrats and Islamists. Yesterday, Nasr Abdelsalam, historic leader of Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya launched an appeal to the young leaders of the protests to avoid violent demonstrations in every possible way. The Islamic leader has made an explicit reference to the Coptic Church, Orthodox and Catholic, to control the unfolding of peaceful demonstrations, avoiding attacks on buildings, houses, cars or people.

The first to propose a new demonstration in contrast to the one organized by Islamists in Cairo last December 1 were members of the National Salvation Front, a group that brings together all the leaders of opposition secular parties. Among them are the two former presidential candidates Amr Moussa and Hamdeen Sabbahi, and Mohamed el-Baradei, the Nobel Peace Laureate and former head of the International Nuclear Agency. "The Constituent Assembly is illegal - said Hussein Abdel-Ghani, a spokesman for the group - it produced a distorted constitution, which excludes women, Christians, workers and intellectuals. In a peaceful way, we will do all that is in our power to avoid this new onslaught of Islamist institutions in the country. " The leaders point out that the Islamists have always lied taking advantage of the chaos. On the eve of presidential elections in June, after the victory of the Justice and Freedom party in January parliamentary elections, Morsi had ensured that the Muslim Brotherhood would not submit any candidate to avoid monopolizing power. A few weeks later amid heavy criticism he presented in his candidacy, while stressing that his office would only be a mere representation, to better serve the citizens of Egypt. Currently he holds all three powers: executive, legislative and judicial.

Meanwhile, membership of a trade union of judges chosen by the president have broken their united front for the boycott of the constitutional referendum of 15 December. Today, Talaat Mohamed Ibrahim Abdullah, the current head of the Supreme Court and former Vice President of the Constitutional Court close to the Muslim Brotherhood, announced that the judges have ended the strike. Many of them will work with the authorities to prepare the country for the vote. (S.C.)


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