Egyptian protesters in palace siege

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IOL egypt palace protests

REUTERS

Egyptian protesters demonstrate outside the presidential palace in Cairo. They are protesting against President Mohamed Morsi's decree widening his powers and they encircled the presidential palace after riot police failed to keep them away with tear gas.

Cairo -

Hundreds of protesters woke up on Wednesday in front of the presidential palace, the new focus of protests against President Mohamed Morsi, as an already-polarised Egypt slipped deeper into crisis.

“The final warning, the presidency under siege,” read the headline of daily al-Shuruk as the independent Al-Watan declared “Revolution at the president's doorstep.”

On Tuesday, tens of the thousands marched on the upscale neighbourhood of Heliopolis, culminating in a dramatic siege of the palace, in scenes not witnessed even during demonstrations that toppled Hosni Mubarak last year.

Hundreds more Morsi opponents spent the night in Cairo's iconic Tahrir Square under dozens of tents erected almost two weeks ago.

Activists used social networking sites to appeal for blankets and food for the protesters who said they won't leave until Morsi rescinds a decree expanding his powers.

Tuesday's protests were the latest in a string of actions opposed to Morsi's November 22 decree, which expanded his powers and enabled him to call a mid-December referendum on a draft constitution drawn up by an Islamist-dominated panel and rejected by liberals, leftists and Christians.

“Why did he do all this? He's supposed to be a president for all Egyptians, not just for the Muslim Brotherhood,” said a protester said at the presidential palace.

The draft constitution has become the focal point of a political and ideological battle between Islamists and the largely secular-leaning opposition. - Sapa-AFP


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