Crisis in Egypt

Islamists backing a new constitution for Egypt claimed victory Dec. 16 in

the first leg of a referendum, but the opposition alleged polling

violations and called for nationwide protests ahead of next week's elections.

Egyptian men line up outside a polling station to cast their votes during a referendum on a disputed constitution drafted by Islamist supporters of President Morsi in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

A protester looks at graffiti on cement blocks in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012. Key Egyptian rights groups called Sunday for a repeat of the first round of the constitutional referendum, alleging the vote was marred by widespread violations. Islamists who back the disputed charter claimed they were in the lead with a majority of “yes” votes. Arabic writing on the cement block, right, reads, "no to the Muslim Brotherhood constitution," (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Egyptian riot police walk past a military tank guarding the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012. Key Egyptian rights groups called Sunday for a repeat of the first round of the constitutional referendum, alleging the vote was marred by widespread violations. Islamists who back the disputed charter claimed they were in the lead with a majority of “yes” votes. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Egyptian protesters push army soldiers standing guard in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012. Egypt's liberal opposition called for more protests Sunday, seeking to keep up the momentum of its street campaign after the president made a partial concession overnight but refused its main demand he rescind a draft constitution going to a referendum on Dec. 15. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

A protester holds the Egyptian national flag as army soldiers stand guard near the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012. Egypt's liberal opposition called for more protests Sunday, seeking to keep up the momentum of its street campaign after the president made a partial concession overnight but refused its main demand he rescind a draft constitution going to a referendum on Dec. 15. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Egyptian army soldiers stand guard as protesters stand on top of cement blocks near the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012. Egypt's liberal opposition called for more protests Sunday, seeking to keep up the momentum of its street campaign after the president made a partial concession overnight but refused its main demand he rescind a draft constitution going to a referendum on Dec. 15. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Egyptian army soldiers stand guard in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012. Egypt's liberal opposition called for more protests Sunday, seeking to keep up the momentum of its street campaign after the president made a partial concession overnight but refused its main demand he rescind a draft constitution going to a referendum on Dec. 15. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Egyptian protesters take down barbed wire during a demonstration in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Dec. 7, 2012. Egypt's political crisis spiraled deeper into bitterness and recrimination on Friday as large crowds of the Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi's opponents marched to his palace to increase pressure after he rejected their demands. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

Muslim Brotherhood and Egyptian President Morsi supporters chant slogans during a funeral of three victims who were killed during Wednesday's clashes outside Al Azhar mosque, the highest Islamic Sunni institution, Friday, Dec. 7, 2012. During the funeral, thousands Islamist mourners chanted, "with blood and soul, we redeem Islam," pumping their fists in the air. "Egypt is Islamic, it will not be secular, it will not be liberal," they chanted as they walked in a funeral procession that filled streets around Al-Azhar mosque. Thousands of Egyptians took to the streets after Friday midday prayers in rival rallies and marches across Cairo, as the standoff deepened over what opponents call the Islamist president's power grab, raising the specter of more violence. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Egyptian army tanks secure the perimeter of the presidential palace while protesters gather chanting anti president Mohammed Morsi slogans, in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Dec. 7, 2012. Egypt's political crisis spiraled deeper into bitterness and recrimination Friday as thousands of Islamist backers of the president vowed vengeance at a funeral for two men killed in bloody clashes earlier this week and large crowds of the president's opponents marched on his palace to increase pressure after he rejected their demands. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Two Egyptian women protesters pay their respects in front of a spot designated for pictures of protesters killed during the Egyptian revolution and verses of Quran that reads "do not kill the soul that God restricted you from killing without justice," at Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Dec. 7, 2012. Thousands of Egyptians took to the streets after Friday midday prayers in rival rallies and marches across Cairo, as the standoff deepened over what opponents call the Islamist president's power grab, raising the specter of more violence. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

Egyptian protesters opposing president Mohammed Morsi attend Friday prayers beneath with a poster depicting protesters killed in the Egyptian revolution, at Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt, Friday, Dec. 7, 2012. Arabic on the poster reads their names from right "Islam, Jaber, Khalid Said, Emad Effat and Mina Daniel." Thousands of Egyptians took to the streets after Friday midday prayers in rival rallies and marches across Cairo, as the standoff deepened over what opponents call the Islamist president's power grab, raising the specter of more violence. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

Egyptian protesters chant anti Muslim Brotherhood and Egyptian President Mosri slogans outside the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012. The Egyptian army has deployed tanks outside the presidential palace in Cairo following clashes between supporters and opponents of Mohammed Morsi that left several people dead and hundreds wounded. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Egyptian protesters chant anti Muslim Brotherhood slogans during a demonstration near the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012. The Egyptian army sealed off the presidential palace with barbed wire and armored vehicles Thursday as protesters defied a deadline to vacate the area, pressing forward with demands that Islamist leader Mohammed Morsi rescind decrees giving himself near-absolute power and withdraw a disputed draft constitution.(AP Photo/Ahmed Ramadan)

An Egyptian Army soldier lays barbed wire near the presidential palace to secure the site of overnight clashes between supporters and opponents of President Mohammed Morsi in Cairo, Egypt, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012. The Egyptian army has deployed tanks outside the presidential palace in Cairo following clashes between supporters and opponents of Mohammed Morsi that left several people dead and hundreds wounded. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Protesters opposed to Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi chant slogans near burning garbage at Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. Supporters and opponents of Egyptian leader Mohammed Morsi fought with rocks, firebombs and sticks outside the presidential palace in Cairo on Wednesday, as a new round of protests deepened the country’s political crisis. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi’s supporters beat an opponent, center, during clashes outside the presidential palace, in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. Wednesday’s clashes began when thousands of Islamist supporters of Morsi descended on the area around the palace where some 300 of his opponents were staging a sit-in. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi’s supporters clash with opponents, not pictured, outside the presidential palace, in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. Wednesday’s clashes began when thousands of Islamist supporters of Morsi descended on the area around the palace where some 300 of his opponents were staging a sit-in. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi’s supporters and opponents clash outside the presidential palace, in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. Wednesday’s clashes began when thousands of Islamist supporters of Morsi descended on the area around the palace where some 300 of his opponents were staging a sit-in. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Egyptian protesters chant anti Muslim Brotherhood slogans during a demonstration outside the presidential palace, in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi’s supporters and opponents clashed outside the presidential palace. Wednesday’s clashes began when thousands of Islamist supporters of Morsi descended on the area around the palace where some 300 of his opponents were staging a sit-in. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

A supporter of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi chants slogans during clashes with opponents, not pictured, outside the presidential palace, in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. Wednesday’s clashes began when thousands of Islamist supporters of Morsi descended on the area around the palace where some 300 of his opponents were staging a sit-in. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

A young Egyptian boy waves a national flag from his mother's shoulders as protesters chant slogans in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012. A protest by tens of thousands of Egyptians outside the presidential palace in Cairo turned violent on Tuesday as tensions grew over Islamist President Mohammed Morsi's seizure of nearly unrestricted powers Thousands of protesters also gathered in Cairo's downtown Tahrir Square, miles away from the palace, to join several hundred who have been camping out there for nearly two weeks. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

Fireworks burst over Tahrir Square as protesters gather in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012. A protest by tens of thousands of Egyptians outside the presidential palace in Cairo turned violent on Tuesday as tensions grew over Islamist President Mohammed Morsi's seizure of nearly unrestricted powers Thousands of protesters also gathered in Cairo's downtown Tahrir Square, miles away from the palace, to join several hundred who have been camping out there for nearly two weeks. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

Protesters chant slogans and wave national flags in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012. Hundreds of black-clad riot police deployed around the Itihadiya palace in Cairo's district of Heliopolis. Barbed wire was also placed outside the complex, and side roads leading to it were blocked to traffic. Protesters gathered at Cairo's Tahrir square and several other points not far from the palace to march to the presidential complex. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

Egyptian riot police stand guard behind barbed wire while protesters chant anti Muslim Brotherhood slogans, not pictured, during a demonstration in front of the presidential palace, in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012. Thousands of Egyptians massed in Cairo Tuesday for a march to the presidential palace to protest the assumption by the nation's Islamist president of nearly unrestricted powers and a draft constitution hurriedly adopted by his allies. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

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