Egypt:11 Dead as Country Votes on New Constitution

Voter turnout reportedly high, but clashes continue.

Tova Dvorin ,

Muslim Brotherhood protesters
Muslim Brotherhood protesters

Egyptian officials say at least 11 were killed Tuesday in clashes between Muslim Brotherhood supporters and the State.

The Health Ministry says the deaths occurred in Cairo, Giza, Bani Suef and Sohag, according to the Huffington Post. 28 people have been wounded in the attacks.

The news surfaces in the wake of the beginning of the country's two-day vote on a new referendum which, if approved, would enact a new constitution to replace ousted. 

USA Today notes that the voting percentage ran high, especially among women. But The Daily Beast notes that at least one party, the Islamist Strong Egypt party, has called for a boycott to the referendum vote. 

The new constitution was drafted after the interim military-installed authorities suspended the previous charter written under the Islamist former president, Mohammed Morsi. Morsi was ousted on July 3, and clashes have erupted since. 

The revised charter, approved several weeks ago, preserves the military’s wide-ranging powers, including the ability to try civilians in certain cases. This has angered secular groups that backed the military in ousting Morsi.

Other articles include one stipulating that Islamic sharia law will be the main source of legislation, as was also the case during the regime of toppled ruler Hosni Mubarak; one forbidding the formation of religious parties or parties based on religious grounds; and one saying that  “no civilian can be tried by military judges, except for crimes of direct attacks on armed forces, military installations and military personnel.”

Secular artists have demonstrated against this provision, saying it could be applied to protesters, journalists and dissidents.

If passed, the referendum is due to be followed by parliamentary and presidential elections, set to be before summer 2014.