Egypt delays early voting on new constitution
CAIRO (AP) - Egypt postponed early voting on a contentious draft constitution, and aides to President Mohammed Mursi floated the possibility of cancelling the whole referendum in the first signs on Friday that the Islamic leader is finally yielding to days of protests and deadly street clashes.
Tens of thousands marched on the presidential palace after pushing past barbed wire fences installed by the army and calling for Mr Mursi to step down. Thousands also camped out in Tahrir Square, birthplace of the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
A spokesman for Mr Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood urged the group's supporters to practice "self-restraint" after hundreds gathered in front of a mosque near the presidential palace. He appealed for them not to march to the palace and to avoid confrontation.
The announcement by the election committee head Ismail Hamdi to delay early voting on the charter came as a surprise, and it was difficult to predict whether it will lead to a breakthrough in the political crisis.