Brawls Erupt in Egypt Courtroom During Constitution Hearing
Brawls among protesters broke out in an Egyptian courthouse Tuesday while judges disputed the legitimacy of the country's new constitutional committee, showing a continued rife between military supporters and presidential supporters.
The calamity broke out when supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, the political party to which president Mohamed Morsi belongs, chanted "Down with military rule" and "Field Marshal, speak the truth" in reference to army chief Mohammad Hussain Tantawi.
Those supporting the country's military rule chanted back "Down, down with the rule of the Supreme Guide," referring to the Muslim Brotherhood's leader, Mohamed Badie.
The court hearing eventually had to move to a separate court room which was closed to the public, although it is still unannounced whether the judges reached a verdict on the legitimacy of the constitutional committee.
"This court has always taken pride that its chambers are open to the public," Judge Abdel Salam el-Naggar told the court, according to Reuters.
"What happened in that chamber – is such terrorism appropriate?" he added.
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The judges met to determine the legitimacy of the constitutional assembly, which was formed by an Islamist-led parliament in March 2012.
The 100 person assembly prompted large public outcry, as the majority of its members were of the Muslim Brotherhood political party and the Salafi Al Nour party, also Muslim.
Both women and Copts were minorly represented in the assembly, and therefore it was boycotted by several assembly members, with only 75 members of the assembly attending the first meeting.
In April 2012, the Supreme Administrative court dissolved the assembly for electing members of parliament to the 100 person panel, which is considered unconstitutional in Egypt.
At Tuesday's hearing, the Cairo administrative court would have determined if a constituent assembly should be completely scrapped.
Egypt's road to democracy has been an uneasy one, with rifts between the former ruling military council, who served as an interim government after the ousting of former president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, and the country's newly elected president, Morsi, who is a part of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Although the power struggle wages on, countries abroad continue to push for democracy in the North African country.
"[The U.S. supports] real democracy [in which] no group or faction or leader can impose their will, their ideology, their religion, their desires on anyone else," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in her recent visit to Egypt.