Violence Mars Balloting on Egypt Constitution 1/14/14
January 14, 2014
CAIRO - Egypt's Health Ministry says 11 people have died in clashes between security forces and protesters loyal to toppled Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.
The violence comes as a two-day referendum begins on a new constitution that, if adopted, would replace an Islamist-tilted charter approved under Morsi's rule. Morsi was ousted in a popularly backed coup last July.
Hundreds of thousands of soldiers and police were deployed today for the first day of a two-day vote on the new constitution. The referendum will pave the way for a likely presidential run by the nation's top general, months after he ousted the country's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.
The balloting is a key milestone on a path toward new elections for a president and a parliament. Last July's coup left Egypt sharply divided between supporters of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood on the one hand, and backers of the military and the security forces.
The vote is taking place in a climate of fear and paranoia. Authorities, along with Egypt's mostly pro-military media and a significant segment of the population are showing little tolerance for dissent. People campaigning for a "no" vote on the constitution risk being arrested.