Hundreds of protesters milled around Morsi’s palace, despite tanks, barbed wire and other barriers installed last week after clashes between Islamists and their rivals killed seven people.

“Holding a referendum now in the absence of security reflects haste and an absence of a sense of responsibility on the part of the regime, which risks pushing the country towards violent confrontation,” a statement from the Front said…

Islamists reckon they can win the referendum and, once the new constitution is in place, a parliamentary election about two months later. The Islamist-led lower house elected this year was dissolved after a few months by a court order.