By Heba Fahmy
CAIRO: About 200 protested outside Egypt’s High Court on Friday against the Islamists’ domination of the Constituent Assembly tasked with drafting the new constitution.
Protesters chanted slogans against the Muslim Brotherhood, whose political arm the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) has a majority in the People’s Assembly and Shoura Council, followed by the Salafi Al-Nour Party.
“There are two you can’t trust … the military and the Brotherhood,” chanted protesters. “No to the military and the Brotherhood.”
Both the upper and lower houses of parliament are expected to meet on Saturday to elect the 100 members of the Constituent Assembly.
Fifty percent of the Constituent Assembly is allocated to MPs, leaving the other half to the different factions of Egyptian society including representatives of syndicates and institutions as well as public figures.
“This way the Muslim Brotherhood will draft a constitution that serves them and their best interests rather than the people,” Nariman Mohamed, 23, told Daily News Egypt.
Karim El-Torky, member of the April 6 Democratic Front, said, “Although I am a Muslim, I don’t want the Constituent Assembly to be dominated by Islamists.”
“The constitution should be written by all Egypt’s factions, Muslims and Copts,” he added.
FJP and Al-Nour leaders have repeatedly said the Assembly will be representative of all of Egypt’s factions.
Others argued that the Assembly should not include any MPs because they could sway the new constitution to give the parliament absolute power.
Ghada Mohamed, who is nine months pregnant, participated in the protest and even brought her five-year-old daughter along.
“The constitution is a contract that regulates relations between the people and state institutions. It should guarantee people’s rights, not the MPs’,” Mohamed said.
“The Constituent Assembly should consist of members from outside parliament,” she added.
Mohamed Abu Doma, member of the Arab Revolutionary Youth movement, said he is not against Islamists because of their ideology, but because of their lack of action in addressing people’s demands, despite occupying the majority of parliament.
Mohamed is the brother of activist Ahmed Abu Doma, who was arrested in a crackdown on a sit-in outside the Cabinet building in December. Nineteen were killed and hundreds were injured.
Abu Doma was charged with attacking military forces and public institutions during the clashes. He remains behind bars.
Protesters on Friday also demanded the release of all political detainees who have been arrested in a series of clashes with security forces over the past year, after the military council took over power on Feb. 11 following Hosni Mubarak’s ouster.
Members of the Ultras White Nights joined the demonstration, breaking into song in support of their friends who were detained during clashes with military forces.
They also slammed the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) and the police for describing them as “thugs who want to vandalize the country.”
Many of the protesters applauded and sang along with the Ultras, who they called “revolutionaries.”
Some protesters called for an open sit-in until the detainees are released. However, it was not a unanimous decision.
Around 24 political parties and movements including April 6 Youth Movement, the National Association for Change, the Revolutionary Socialists and the Kefaya opposition movement said in a statement that they would start a series of protests and marches on Friday starting with one in front of the High Court.
The marches and protests are to continue until April 24, under the title of “the month of saving Egypt,” to reject the Islamists’ dominance over the Constituent Assembly.
On Saturday, another protest will be held in front of the Cairo International Conference Center (CICC), during the joint meeting of the upper and lower houses of parliament to elect the Assembly members.