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Egypt - President Morsi Empowers Army To Arrest Ahead Of Referendum

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has ordered the military to maintain security and protect state institutions in the run-up to a controversial referendum on a new constitution.
The army has also been given the power to arrest civilians.

Mr Morsi has tried to calm public anger by annulling a decree giving him huge powers, but rejected a call to scrap the 15 December constitutional vote.

Opposition leaders called for protests on Tuesday against the referendum.

The opposition was "not aiming at toppling the president" but wanted a better constitution, former Foreign Minister Amr Moussa told reporters.

Islamist groups have said they will hold counter demonstrations, raising fears of further bloody clashes on the streets of the Egyptian capital.

In another apparent concession, the president suspended a big tax increase on the sale of a variety of goods including soft drinks, cigarettes and beer.

The decision was carried in a statement that appeared on Mr Morsi's Facebook page in the early hours of Monday, state-owned al-Ahram newspaper reported.
Egypt 702400787959050327

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