Thursday, April 17, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Egyptian Islamists, opponents clash ahead of vote

APTOPIX Mideast Egypt

A masked protester poses with a tear gas canister in front of a burning vehicle during clashes between opponents of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and his Islamist supporters in Alexandria, Egypt, Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. Thousands of Islamists clashed with their opponents on Friday in Egypt's second largest city, Alexandria as the two sides hurled stones and youth protesters sat fire on vehicles belonging to Islamists, a day before the second leg of voting on a proposed constitution that has deeply polarized the nation.(AP Photo)

ALEXANDRIA, Egypt — Violence erupted between Egypt’s divided camps on Friday, the eve of the final round of a referendum on a constitution that has polarized the nation, as Islamists and their opponents pelted each other with stones while police fired tear gas in the streets of the Mediterranean city of Alexandria.

The contentious referendum, which would bring a greater implementation of Islamic law to Egypt, is expected to be approved in Saturday’s voting.

The new clashes – in which opponents of Islamists set fire to cars and dozens of people were hurt – illustrated how the new charter is unlikely to ease the violent conflict over the country’s future. For a month, Egypt has been torn between Islamists and their opponents, who accuse President Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood of trying to unilaterally impose their will on the country.

Meanwhile, Morsi was already gearing up for the next steps after the constitution’s passage, making a last-minute appointment of 90 new members to the parliament’s upper house, a third of its total membership. Current rules allow him to do so, but if he waited until the charter was passed he could only appoint 10.

The body is normally so toothless and ignored that few Egyptians bothered to vote in elections for it earlier this year, allowing an almost total sweep by the Brotherhood and other Islamists. But once the charter is passed, it will hold lawmaking powers until elections for a new lower house are held – not expected for several months.

Friday’s appointments added to the tiny ranks of non-Islamists in the upper house, known as the Shura Council, but preserved the Islamists’ overwhelming hold.

A spokesman for the main opposition umbrella National Salvation Front dismissed the appointments, accusing Morsi of setting up a token opposition much like ousted autocrat Hosni Mubarak did.

“This council and this constitution will also fail as long as there is no real opposition and no real dialogue, and as long as Morsi is only serving his clan and taking orders from the head office of the Muslim Brotherhood,” Hussein Abdel-Razek told The Associated Press.

For the past month, both sides have been bringing their supporters into the street for mass rallies sometimes numbering in the tens of thousands – and repeatedly erupting into clashes.

In part, Egypt’s split has been over who will shape the country’s path two years after Mubarak’s ouster. An opposition made up of liberals, leftists, secular Egyptians and a swath of the public angered over Morsi’s 6-month-old rule fear Islamists are creating a new Mubarak-style autocracy. They accuse the Brotherhood of monopolizing the levers of power and point to the draft charter, which Islamists on the Constituent Assembly rammed through despite a boycott by liberal and secular members.

Morsi’s allies say the opposition is trying to use the streets to overturn their victories at the ballot box over the past two years. They also accuse the opposition of carrying out a conspiracy by former members of Mubarak’s regime to regain power.

Intertwined with that is a fight over Islam’s role in the state. Many Islamists vow to defend God’s law, and clerics have depicted opponents as infidels. The constitution would give broad leeway for hard-liners to implement Islamic Shariah law, making civil liberties and rights of women subordinate to a more literal version of Islamic law. It also gives clerics a say in legislation for the first time to ensure parliament adheres to Shariah.

Passage of the charter will do little to resolve the confrontation – particularly if it is approved by a low margin with little turnout. The first round of voting took place Dec. 15 in 10 of Egypt’s 27 provinces, and preliminary results showed a meager 32 percent turnout, leading to a 56 percent “yes” vote.

Voting Saturday will take place in the remaining 17 provinces. Preliminary results are likely to be known late Saturday or early Sunday.

Top opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei urged the public to vote “no,” saying, “We know if this constitution is passed, there will be no stability.”

“This is not the road for stability or democracy,” he said in a speech aired Thursday night. “When 45 percent of people say ‘no,’ it is a strong indication. Some don’t read or write, but they are conscious that they should not be tricked.”

The violence in Alexandria was a sign of how the conflict has moved beyond the issue of the constitution, to the deep resentments between the two camps.

Riot police swung batons and fired volleys of tear gas to separate stone-throwing Brotherhood members and ultraconservative Salafis on one side, and youthful secular protesters on the other.

The clashes started when the two groups met just after Friday prayers at the city’s main Qaed Ibrahim mosque, by the coastal promenade. Throngs of Salafi Islamists, most wearing the long beards favored by the movement, had gathered there for what they called “a rally to defend clerics and mosques.” Waving black Islamic banners, some chanted “God is Great!” and warned opponents: “With blood and soul, we redeem Islam.”

It was unclear who started the fight. During the battles, secular youths set fire to two buses and two cars belonging to Islamists, sending thick black smoke through the upscale city center. Under a heavy cloud of tear gas, the two sides pulled back, but then continued fighting for hours past dusk along the corniche, near the famed Alexandria Library.

At least 42 people were treated for injuries, with some rushed to the hospital, a city health official said.

The Islamists’ rally was called in response to violence last week, when a well-known Salafi cleric in Alexandria, Sheik Ahmed el-Mahalawi, was trapped inside a mosque for 12 hours while his supporters battled stone-throwing opponents outside with swords and firebombs.

El-Mahalawi, 87, had stirred anger with a sermon in which he denounced opponents of the draft charter as “followers of heretics.”

In a further sign of the tensions opened up by the crisis, the Brotherhood in Alexandria accused the security forces of conspiring with “thugs” loyal to ElBaradei’s Dustour Party and other liberal groups that it claimed attacked the Islamists in Alexandria.

“There was clear collusion by the security forces, which did nothing (to stop the attackers),” said Anas al-Qadi, a Brotherhood spokesman in Alexandria, according to the website of the Brotherhood’s political party.

“In whose interest are the Interior Ministry and the governorate’s security director working?”

Egypt’s security forces have been divided by the country’s turmoil, with some police in the streets showing support for anti-Morsi protesters, while others are believed to be backing the president. The crisis’ worst violence came on Dec. 5, when Brotherhood supporters attacked an opposition sit-in outside the presidential palace in Cairo, and the ensuing violence left at least 10 dead and hundreds injured on both sides.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Supervisor candidates square off at forum

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 5 Comments | Gallery

 
Carli takes oath, now Vacaville’s 14th police chief

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Huge jump in Solano median home price

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A1, 3 Comments | Gallery

Donate a car, help build a house

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Solano DA hosts workshop to fight human trafficking

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

Suisun water rates won’t rise this year

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3

 
 
Fairfield town hall on crime delayed

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4, 4 Comments

Railway museum offers wine-tasting rides

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A4

 
 
Drugs topic of cardiac class

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A4

Weather for April 17, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B12

 
Fairfield police log: April 15, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: April 15, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: April 14, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun Police log: April 14, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

Armed robber was never told to report to prison

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Body of California man who jumped into river found

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Lost sea lion in California found mile from water

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Seabird from Atlantic spotted on Alcatraz

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Ex-Bell city leader gets 12 years in prison

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
California delays decision on protecting gray wolf

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Court rules for environmentalists in water fight

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Governor calls special session on rainy day fund

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Denver police eye 911 response time after killing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

 
Man charged with marathon hoax is held on bail

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Geneva talks on Ukraine face steep hurdles

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Pro-Russian insurgents seize armored vehicles

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Ferry sinks off South Korea; 6 dead, 290 missing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
NATO ups military presence amid Russian threat

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

.

Opinion

In support of Pam Bertani

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 6 Comments

 
Parenting demands responsibility

By Ruben Navarrette | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

 
Let’s stop Fairfield’s future thugs

By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A11, 6 Comments

Obamacare news you probably missed

By Martin Schram | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

 
Editorial Cartoons for April 17, 2014

By Kim Durbin | From Page: A11

.

Living

A lesson in household budgeting

By Chris Erskine | From Page: A2

 
Today in History for April 17, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Community Calendar: April 17, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Horoscopes for April 17, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Daniel Radcliffe on why New York audiences rock

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Alicia Silverstone out with book ‘Kind Mama’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Jenny McCarthy announces engagement on ‘The View’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Ailing Malcolm Young taking break from AC/DC

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Disney Channel’s ‘Jessie’ breaks romantic ground

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

.

Sports

Vacaville’s Peralta to wrestle at San Francisco State

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

 
Angels beat A’s 5-4 on Iannetta’s HR in 12th

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

MEL, SCAC tangle in hoops all-star games

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1

 
Sharks take goalie questions into rematch vs Kings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Crawford’s 41 points leads Warriors over Nuggets

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

IndyCar driver Saavedra fined $10K

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Sandoval’s single lifts Giants past Dodgers, 2-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Officer: Sharper’s DNA found on 1 Arizona victim

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Jets sign former Titans RB Chris Johnson

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Spieth ready for more after Masters success

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Backup QB Matt Flynn returns to Packers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Atlanta lands MLS expansion team for 2017

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Bucks owner Herb Kohl reaches deal to sell team

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Sidney Rice agrees to terms with Seahawks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Goodwin helps Suns to 104-99 win over Kings in finale

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
.

Business

Yellen: Fed stimulus still needed for job market

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Some exempted from minimum wage, increased or not

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Fed survey: Growth picks up across most of US

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Bank of America posts loss, hurt by legal charges

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

IBM posts lower 1Q earnings amid hardware slump

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Google’s 1Q earnings disappoint as ad prices slip

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9