Dec. 14 - Egyptians stage final protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square a day before a divisive referendum on a new constitution championed by the Islamist leader as a way out of the worst crisis since the fall of Hosni Mubarak. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
(ROUGH CUT ONLY - NO REPORTER NARRATION) Demonstrators in Cairo's Tahrir Square continued protesting on Friday (December 4) against a draft constitution championed by Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi. The referendum set for Saturday (December 15) asks Egyptians to accept or reject a basic law that has to be in place before parliamentary elections can be held early next year - an event many hope can steer the Arab world's most populous nation towards stability. Crowds occupied the square, waving Egyptian flags and chanting anti-constitution slogans. Cairo and other cities have seen a series of often violent demonstrations over the past three weeks since Mursi assumed sweeping new powers to push through the constitution, which he sees as a vital element of Egypt's transition to democracy after the overthrow of autocratic predecessor Hosni Mubarak last year. At least eight people have died and hundreds have been injured, and a leading opposition figure has warned of more violence during the voting. The opposition says the constitution does not reflect the aspirations of all 83 million Egyptians because it is too Islamist and tramples on minority rights, including those of the Christian community.