Egypt begins work amending Islamist-crafted constitution
An Egyptian commission Sunday held its first meeting to amend a contentious Islamist-crafted constitution which had been suspended by the military after it deposed president Mohammed Morsi, dpa reported.
The panel, made up of 10 legal experts, has one month to draft the amendments, which will be examined by another committee representing all segments of society before the charter is put to a referendum.
Following the meeting, a presidential aide said the commission had set a week to receive proposals from political powers and individual citizens on the amendments deemed necessary for the constitution.
"I cannot now specify the scale of the constitutional amendments, which will be drafted," added Ali Saleh, who is also the commission's rapporteur.
Anti-Islamist groups say that the constitution, adopted in a public vote last year, ignores the rights of women and minorities.
The amended charter will clear the way for parliamentary and presidential elections, expected to be held early next year.
Meanwhile, followers of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood took to Cairo's streets Sunday to denounce the killing of three Islamist women a day earlier and to renew their demand for his reinstatement.
Backers of the Islamist group marched toward the US embassy in central Cairo, but were prevented by security forces from coming near the compound.
The protesters decried the army's overthrow of Morsi and what they called the "West's disgraceful position on the military coup."
Holding Morsi portraits, the demonstrators shouted "illegal," referring to his ousting by the military on June 3.
A mass rally, made up mostly of women, was held near the Defence Ministry in Cairo where participants charged the army with condoning violence against Islamists, said witnesses.
The demonstrators carried placards reading: "No to women's killers" and "No to betrayal."
Three women were killed Saturday in clashes between Morsi's backers and opponents in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura, according to the Health Ministry.
The Brotherhood said the three were among its supporters and they had been killed in an attack by "thugs" at a pro-Morsi rally.
The army ousted Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected president, after millions of Egyptians took to the streets demanding his resignation and early presidential elections.
The Brotherhood has denounced Morsi's toppling as a coup and vowed street protests until he is reinstated.
Liberals accuse the Brotherhood of inciting violence and using women as "human shields" in its protests.
Dozens have died in clashes across Egypt since Morsi's overthrow.
At least 51 people, mainly Brotherhood supporters, were killed on July 8 when soldiers opened fire on protesters outside the Republican Guard building in Cairo, where Morsi is believed to be held.
The army said its soldiers had acted in self-defence.
In Sinai, two soldiers and one policeman were shot dead Sunday by gunmen in separate coordinated attacks in al-Arish city, a security official said.
Gunmen killed a soldier guarding an administrative building, another guarding a radio station and an officer at a police station, according to the official.
Islamist militants have been blamed for a surge in violence against security and army forces in the Sinai peninsula bordering Israel and the Palestinian Gaza Strip since Morsi's toppling.