Hundreds of ultraconservative Egyptian Islamists have held a protest in Cairo to demand the imposition of Shariah, or Islamic law.

Protesters, many of them wearing beards favored by conservative Muslims marched to Tahrir Square in central Cairo from a nearby mosque, chanting: "The people want God's rule implemented." A larger demonstration is planned next Friday, they say.

References to Shariah and how they are worded in Egypt's new constitution have split the nation into two rival camps.

One, led by Islamists, wants firm language that will ensure Islamic law will be fully implemented. They threaten to rally voters against the new constitution when it faces a referendum later this year.

The second group, led by liberals, fears Islamists would turn Egypt to a theocracy where civil liberties are endangered.