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Egypt’s opposition urges “no” vote in referendum



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Human Rights Watch, meanwhile, called on authorities to investigate the detention and abuse of opposition protesters by Brotherhood supporters during last week’s clashes.

In another twist, Egypt’s military withdrew a call for talks with the opposition, one day after proposing it.

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Defense Minister Abdel-Fatah el-Sissi decided to postpone the talks because "the response to the invitation was below expectations," military spokesman Col. Ahmed Mohammed Ali was quoted by the official MENA news agency as saying. He did not elaborate.

That announcement came just as the opposition said it was willing to attend the meeting. El-Sissi’s call was the second time in less than a week that the generals addressed the crisis. On Saturday, the military warned of "disastrous consequences" if the crisis is not resolved.

The cancellation was likely made under pressure from Morsi, who has been adamant that the military must stick to its core security mission.

With the military now weighing in, Egypt may face further divisions.

"The military is boiling. The military doesn’t live in isolation from the street and what is happening there. We have judges on strike, a constitutional court under siege," said retired army general Hossam Sweilam, a military analyst who is widely thought to be close to the military leadership.

"We have large sectors of Egyptians rejecting the referendum and we have so many ways to postpone it. But the stubborn leadership is insisting on going forward with the process. All this is reflected on the armed forces," he said.




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