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Supporters and opponents of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi called rival demonstrations on Friday after the Islamist leader assumed sweeping powers in what critics dubbed a “coup”.
Morsi's supporters, led by the Muslim Brotherhood which backed him in his successful run for the presidency in June, were to demonstrate their support in a rally outside the presidential palace in north Cairo, a Brotherhood official told AFP.
The president's mostly liberal, secular opponents planned to march on Tahrir Square, the central Cairo protest hub where hundreds of thousands rallied for 18 straight days of demonstrations that forced veteran strongman Hosni Mubarak from power early last year.
A source in the president's office told AFP Morsi might give a speech later in the day defending his actions, but a final decision had yet to be taken.
On Thursday, Morsi, who until a new parliament has been elected already held both executive and legislative power, issued a decree that shielded his decisions from judicial review.
He also stripped judges of the right to review the legality of an Islamist-dominated constituent assembly drafting a new charter, on which they had been set to rule in December.
“Morsi is a 'temporary' dictator,” read the banner headline in Friday's edition of independent daily Al-Masry Youm. - AFP