Back to the barracks, army awaits referendum's second round

Back to the barracks, army awaits referendum's second round

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Sun, 16/12/2012 - 19:41

Army troops securing the constitutional referendum vote returned to the barracks on Sunday, set to return to polling stations for the second round of voting next Saturday.

The Armed Forces had assigned 120,000 officers and soldiers with 6,000 armored vehicles to secure polling stations Saturday, in coordination with the Interior Ministry and the High Judicial Elections Commission, which is overseeing the vote.

The army’s deployment came after President Mohamed Morsy’s constitutional declaration last week, which gave the military the authority to arrest civilians until the referendum result is declared.

Under Morsy’s order, the military would support and cooperate with police to protect “vital institutions” and “secure polling stations.” The move was criticized by rights groups, who worried it would open the door to more civilians being tried before military courts.

But a presidential statement on Tuesday said any citizens arrested by the army during the referendum voting period would be tried before a civilian court.