[JURIST] Few Egyptians voted Monday in a referendum on proposed constitutional amendments [JURIST report] in the face of a boycott by opposition parties that regard them as an attempt to take away basic rights. Most participating voters were either gathered by the government or were government employees granted breaks to vote. Amnesty International [advocacy website] has condemned the amendments [press release], calling them the "greatest erosion of human rights in 26 years."
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak [official profile; JURIST news archive] Saturday defended the amendments [JURIST report] – which include provisions prohibiting religious political parties and giving the state sweeping power to prosecute terror-related offenses in special courts – as being necessary to shield Egypt from the dangers of religious sectarianism and terrorism. AFP has more.