Morsi gives Egyptian army 'powers to arrest civilians' before referendum
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has ordered the country's army to maintain security and protect state and gave it the right to arrest civilians, in the run-up to a vote on a constitution that has triggered bloodshed.
Morsi has tried to calm public anger by annulling a decree giving him huge powers, but rejected a call to scrap the 15 December constitutional vote.
As tension increased before Saturday's referendum, Morsi ordered the military to maintain security 'up to the announcement of the results from the referendum', the BBC reports.
According to the report, under the new presidential decree, the military is asked to co-ordinate with the police on maintaining security and is also entitled to arrest civilians.
The police have been seen as weakened since the fall of former President Hosni Mubarak and failed to intervene when anti-Muslim Brotherhood protesters ransacked the Islamist movement's Cairo headquarters last week, the report said.
It is not yet clear whether the opposition will boycott Saturday's referendum.
However, a group of senior judges announced on Monday that they would be prepared to oversee the vote, on certain conditions, the report said.