Egyptian Islamists, opponents clash ahead of vote

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Egyptian Islamists, opponents clash ahead of vote

ALEXANDRIA, Egypt — Thousands of Islamists clashed with their opponents today in Egypt’s second largest city, Alexandria, a day before the second leg of voting on a proposed Islamist-backed constitution that has polarized the nation.

In Alexandria, on the Mediterranean coast, riot police swung batons and fired volleys of tear gas to separate stone-throwing Muslim Brotherhood members and ultraconservative Salafis on one side, and youthful protesters on the other. The clashes started when the two groups met just after Friday afternoon prayers at the city’s main mosque near the coastal road.

Meanwhile, the country’s Islamist President Mohammed Morsi made a last-minute move to tighten his grip on power by appointing 90 members to parliament’s upper house, a body set to wield temporary lawmaking powers if the constitution is approved by referendum.

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