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Monday, December 10, 2012

Egypt army given temporary power to arrest civilians

An Egyptian army tank is deployed near the presidential palace in Cairo as opposition supporters and people walk by.
Egypt's president has given the army temporary power to arrest civilians during a constitutional referendum he is determined to push through despite protests accusing him of a power grab.

Seven people were killed and hundreds wounded last week in clashes between the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood and their critics besieging Mohamed Mursi's graffiti-daubed presidential palace. Both sides plan mass rallies tomorrow.

The elite Republican Guard has yet to use force to keep protesters away from the palace, which it ringed with tanks, barbed wire and concrete barricades after last week's violence.
Mursi, bruised by calls for his downfall, has rescinded a Nov. 22 decree giving him wide powers but is going ahead with a referendum on Saturday on a constitution seen by his supporters as a triumph for democracy and by many liberals as a betrayal.

A decree issued by Mursi late last night gives the armed forces the power to arrest civilians and refer them to prosecutors until the announcement of the results of the referendum, which the protesters want cancelled.

"The latest law giving the armed forces the right to arrest anyone involved in illegal actions such as burning buildings or damaging public sites is to ensure security during the referendum only," a military source said.

Presidential spokesman Yasser Ali said the committee overseeing the vote had requested the army's assistance.

"The armed forces will work within a legal framework to secure the referendum and will return (to barracks) as soon as the referendum is over," Ali said.


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Tags:  Egypt  military  army  Mursi  referendum  





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