- Middle East/North Africa
Hundreds of protesters gathered in Tahrir Square after Friday prayers for the “No to the Referendum” protest, while thousands of rival Islamist protesters assembled in outside the Rabaa al-Adaweya Mosque in Nasr City to support the constitutional referendum.
In the early evening, pro-constitution demonstrators proclaimed from the stage in front of the mosque that the “Islamic current is not weak,” but rather is strong and can bring retribution to the martyrs of the presidential palace clashes.
That retribution will not take the form of thuggery, but rather will come through maintaining the unity of the country and spreading justice, protesters said.
They chanted: “Oh martyr rest in peace, we will continue the struggle,” “Down with the feloul,” “God is our patron, and they (the opposition) have no patron,” and “God is our objective, and they have no objective.”
Former parliamentary speaker Mohsen Rady addressed the crowd, saying: "We thank everyone who participated in drafting the new Egyptian constitution." He claimed that the opposition seeks neither stability nor development.
"The Egyptian people are aware that the draft constitution is the greatest constitution in Egypt, and even in whole world. It will be the source of legislation for the coming Parliament, which the people will elect very soon," Rady said.
"Yes to the Sharia, yes to the constitution, and no to the fake opposition,” he continued.
"The battle is now between those who want the revolution to succeed and those who want it to fail, and certain political parties who offer nothing, but merely keep attacking (us) through the media,” Rady said.
Earlier in the day, members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Salafi Dawah and the Jama’a al-Islamiya had formed a human chain as they demonstrated for a ‘yes’ vote in Saturday’s referendum.
The protesters raised banners that read: "Yes to the constitution," and "Sharia and legitimacy say Morsy is the president of the republic."
The rally blocked traffic in the area.
Meanwhile, at the rival protest in Tahrir Square, protesters chanted, “Oh martyr we swear by your blood, another revolution anew,” and “The people demand the fall of the regime.”
They hung images of the martyrs of the 25 January revolution, and street vendors spread across the square in anticipation of the arrival more protesters.
Cairo and other cities have seen a series of often violent demonstrations over the past three weeks since Morsy assumed sweeping new powers to push through the constitution.
The first round of voting on Saturday will take place in Cairo and other major cities. Official results won't be announced until after the second round, though it is likely that details will emerge to give a good steer on the first-day figures, which are expected to show a strong vote in favor.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm