DHAKA: A divisive panel boycotted by liberals and Christians was set to rush out a draft new Egyptian constitution as protests mounted over the political future nearly two years after Hosni Mubarak`s overthrow.
President Mohamed Mursi had just last week given the constituent assembly an additional two months until February to complete its work.
But as protests mounted over his decision to grant himself sweeping powers until the text is ratified in a referendum, the panel wrapped up its deliberations on Wednesday and readied for a vote on Thursday.
`The discussions over the draft of the constitution will be finished today, to be followed by voting,` Ahmed Darrag, the panel chief, said in remarks carried by the official MENA news agency, reports Al Jazeera.
Egyptian police fired tear gas into Cairo`s Tahrir Square on Wednesday morning, where several hundred protesters spent the night after a mass rally to denounce Mursi`s assumption of expanded powers.
Clashes erupting on streets near Tahrir Square spilled into the square, with canisters falling into the crowd forcing protesters to run and sending clouds of tear gas over the tents housing the demonstrators.
Al Jazeera said there was a huge difference between Wednesday and Tuesday`s turnout, which was a huge success for the opposition in terms of the amount of people they were able to rally.
Supporters of the former regime joined the protests and are now considered as part of the opposition.
Slogans of demands have changed over the past few days, from the fall of the regime, to anti-Muslim Brotherhood, to calling for the `constitutional declaration` to be abolished.
According to Al Jazeera report while Mursi had been holding consultations with people in his constituency on Wednesday, there was no sign that he was considering the option of retracting his decree.
The Muslim Brotherhood and allied groups plan to hold nationwide protests in support of Mursi on Saturday.
Mahmud Ghozlan, a senior Brotherhood member and spokesperson, said the rally would be held in Cairo.
BDST: 0112 HRS, NOV 29, 2012
Edited by Robab Rosan, Cultural Affairs Editor
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