Independent voices from the TWT Communities
Tens of thousands of backers and foes of Egypt's Islamist president took to the streets in competing demonstrations Tuesday, as divisions over a draft constitution that is set for a referendum Saturday spilled into violence for the second time in two weeks.
Clashes between supporters and opponents of Egypt's Islamist president erupted Wednesday outside his palace, where they attacked one another with clubs and firebombs in violence that pointed up the growing political division in the Arab world's most populous country.
Egypt's political crisis deepened over the weekend, as judges shut down the country's highest court Sunday after crowds of Islamists backing the government surrounded the courthouse.
Tensions heightened in advance of massive anti-government protests scheduled for Friday and Saturday after an Islamist-controlled panel hurriedly approved Thursday a final draft of Egypt's constitution that, among its new dictates, would grant Muslim clerics a role in interpreting some legal matters — angering critics and worrying minorities in this secular Islamic nation.
"Some judges will probably agree to supervise, and many others will boycott this," said Mazen Hassan, political science lecturer at Cairo University.
"The military is not going to rush to intervene because it understands that intervention would have a very high cost and would not be welcomed by the majority of the population as it was a couple of years ago," said Mazen Hassan, political science lecturer at Cairo University.