Egypt Gives Military Arrest Powers to Protect Referendum

Photo: SRA D. Myles Cullen, USAF
Egyptian Army soldiers (file photo).

Cairo — A decree issued by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi giving the military temporary authority to arrest civilians and protect "vital facilities of the state" took effect Monday, as a standoff continued over an upcoming referendum on a controversial draft constitution and more protests were called for Tuesday.

Egypt's liberal opposition coalition has formally rejected the president's plan to hold the referendum on a new constitution largely shaped by Morsi's Islamist allies.

Analysts said it was difficult to know exactly what the new decree might mean in the context of Egypt's ongoing political crisis, which has divided the nation's revolutionaries nearly two years after they ousted strongman Hosni Mubarak.

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InFocus

Egyptian President Grants Military New Powers

Egyptian Army soldiers (file photo).

President Mohamed Mursi issued a decree granting the military temporary authority to arrest civilians and safeguard state interests as a referendum on the controversial draft ... Read more »