World Bulletin / News Desk
Polling stations opened at 9am on Tuesday for Egyptians to vote on amendments to the suspended 2012 constitution.
The referendum is the first popular vote since the army's ouster of elected president Mohamed Morsi in July.
Around 53 million voters are eligible to cast their ballot in around 30,600 polling centers nationwide.
The two-day referendum is supervised by 68 local and international organizations, according to the High Electoral Commission (HEC).
Amending the charter is the first milestone in the post-Morsi roadmap imposed by the army.
The plan also includes presidential and parliamentary elections, the dates of which are yet to be decided.
The army is deploying around 160,000 soldiers and officers while the Interior Ministry is deploying around 220,000 policemen to secure the vote.
Polling stations across the country appeared like military garrisons with sandbags and barricades erected around the vote centers.
The army-installed interim administration has been campaigning for a massive turnout to show popular support for the roadmap.
The anti-coupNational Alliance for the Defense of Legitimacy has called for boycotting the vote and urged Egyptians to join mass protests against the charter.
The Muslim Brotherhood, the group which propelled Morsi to power, is also boycotting the referendum and has voiced fears about fraud and vote rigging by the army-installed interim authorities.
Cairo University students call anti-referendum protest
An anti-coup student movement on Tuesday called for staging a protest against today's referendum on an amended version of the 2012 suspended constitution.
The "Students against the Coup" movement asked its members to march from Cairo University to the nearby Nahda Square, the site of a sit-in by supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi that was violently dispersed by security in mid-August.
The students are demonstrating against the draft charter, widely viewed by pro-democracy groups as an illegitimate voting process.
Muslim Brotherhood: Egypt vote boycott to 'fascinate' world:
The Muslim Brotherhood said on Monday that the mass boycott of this week's constitutional referendum in Egypt will "fascinate" the world.
In a statement, the Brotherhood, from which Morsi hails, accused the military-backed authorities of planning to "rig" the vote.
"We are confident that the authorities will resort to rigging," the Islamist group said.
"However, the people will fascinate the world by boycotting the referendum of 'blood and destruction'," the Brotherhood said.
International Rabia Platform calls for boycott
The preparation of Egypt's constitution draft is illegitimate and aims to restrict the freedom of the Egyptian people, said the Coordinator of International Rabia Platform, Cihangir Isbilir, in Istanbul on Tuesday.
Releasing a written statement over the constitutional referendum process in Egypt, Isbilir said that Egyptians have had an ongoing struggle for freedom and democracy since the military coup in July 2013.
He added: "For this reason, Egyptians are boycotting the referendum which began today."
Egypt NGOs want referendum vote-count inside polling centers
A coalition of local NGOs monitoring Egypt's constitutional referendum has urged the High Election Commission to count ballots inside polling centers.
The Egyptian Coalition for 2014 Referendum Supervision, which includes 120 local NGOs, said that media representatives should be allowed to attend the vote counting.
"Counting inside polling centers in the presence of the media reinforces transparency and integrity," the coalition said in a statement.Last Mod: 14 Ocak 2014, 16:34