Cairo: Egypt’s interim President Adly Mansour issued a roadmap late Monday for a new constitution and elections within about six months, hours after dozens of supporters of former president Mohammed Morsy were killed in clashes with security forces.
Mr. Mansour’s constitutional declaration, issued after consultations with political groups that supported last week’s military ouster of Mohamed Morsy, calls for a group of legal experts to start work within 15 days on revising the 2012 constitution.
The draft revisions will then be agreed by a broader group “representing all sections of society,” before being put to a referendum by late November.
Parliamentary elections to take place over one or two months will be called after the approval of the constitution, with presidential elections to follow.
The 2012 constitution was drafted by an assembly appointed by the Islamist-dominated parliament elected last year, and was bitterly opposed by the liberal and Left-—wing opposition.
Mr. Mansour’s declaration comes after a bloody day that saw at least 51 people killed in dawn clashes between security forces and Islamist protesters calling for Morsy’s reinstatement.
The Egyptian Army said fighting broke out after an armed group attempted to storm a Republican Guard facility, where Morsy’s supporters believe he is being held.
“The scene stopped being peaceful,” army spokesman Colonel Ahmed Ali said. “The armed forces and police did not respond to the protesters but remained to protect the public institutions. We dealt with the angry protesters with restraint.” He said that gunmen tried to penetrate the barbed wire surrounding the compound while snipers working in tandem fired from nearby rooftops. Mr. Ali showed videos of civilians carrying guns and throwing petrol bombs and stones at soldiers guarding the building.
However, Morsy’s Muslim Brotherhood group said the army and police opened fire on supporters of the toppled president, killing more than 50 people.
Interim president Adli Mansour has ordered an independent investigation into the violence.
The violence amplifies the conflict between the army and supporters of the Brotherhood, who vowed to continue demonstrating until Morsy is restored to power.
In a statement, the Brotherhood attacked army chief and Defence Minister Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi, who led Morsy’s overthrow, saying he was pushing Egypt toward civil war.
“They attacked the people who were praying. They had their heads bowed to the ground, their backs to their trusted army,” Brotherhood spokesman Gehad el-Haddad said.
El-Haddad vowed the protests would continue.
“They are trying to terrorise us off the squares and disperse us — we are not going to do that,” he said. “They are trying to drag us into a cycle of violence, and we are not going to do that.” A pro-Morsy doctor said the army used live ammunition against the protesters.
“What happened today shows us that we are not dealing with a normal regime. (This is) a regime allowing bloodshed of its own people, a regime responding to bare breasts of peaceful protesters by shooting at them,” the doctor said.
The Health Ministry said 435 people were injured. The army arrested 200 people for questioning.
Clashes between rival protesters have seen 72 people killed since June 28, al-Ahram newspaper reported, citing the Health Ministry.