(CAIRO) — Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has ordered his country’s military to maintain security and protect government buildings in advance of a Dec. 15 vote on a new constitution.
The BBC reports the Egyptian army has erected a wall of concrete blocks to close off the presidential palace, which has been the target of demonstrators.
Enlisting the military to help maintain order is expected to spur even more demonstrations against Morsi’s leadership.
Morsi tried to appease protesters over the weekend by canceling a decree that suspended any judicial review of his actions, but opponents have rejected his efforts at compromise and called for large rallies this week.
Several hundred protesters showed up on Sunday outside the presidential palace and Tahir Square to protest the Dec. 15 referendum, which they fear will transform Egypt from a secular to an Islamic state.
Islamist groups that support Morsi have said that they will stage counter-demonstrations, a situation that may result in bloody street clashes.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
Lorenzo D'Agostino and Hilary Clarke, CNN
Holly Yan and Nadeem Muaddi, CNN
Chandrika Narayan and Steve Almasy, CNN