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Egypt

Pro and anti-Morsi factions urge Egypt activists to palace

Opponents and supporters of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi have both been called upon to gather outside the presidential palace. The Muslim Brotherhood urged its followers to defend "legitimacy."

A Egyptian woman prays in front of Egyptian security as they lay out barbed wire along streets leading to the Itihadiya presidential palace in the neighbourhood of Heliopolis in Cairo, on December 4, 2012. Opponents of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi were to march on the Itihadiya presidential palace to protest his power grab and a controversial draft charter, as the country plunged deeper into crisis. AFP PHOTO/STR (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)

Ausschreitungen Kairo Ägypten 4.12.2012

Opponents of President Mohammed Morsi called for a demonstration outside the presidential palace Wednesday in response a rally there by the Muslim government.

The appeal for anti-Morsi activists to turn out at the Itihadiya Palace came after Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood urged its own supporters to assemble there.

"It has been agreed, in coordination with the revolutionary forces, to have a protest outside the presidential palace," spokesman for the National Front for Justice and Democracy, Mohamed Waked, told the AFP news agency.

"If the Muslim Brotherhood do not attack us, everything will be fine. If they do, we will hold Morsi responsible," Waked said.

A minor scuffle ensued, with the two sides throwing stones at one another before Morsi supporters tore down tents erected by the opposition for a sit-in Tuesday.

Tension rises in Egypt over Morsi

Morsi himself returned to the palace on Wednesday, a day after leaving the building when it came under siege from protesters angry about his plans for a new constitution. Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood called on its supporters to gather outside the residence in defense of the president.

"The Muslim Brotherhood and other popular forces have called for a demonstration outside the Itihadiya palace on Wednesday afternoon to defend legitimacy after (protesters) yesterday thought they could impose their opinions through force," said Brotherhood spokesman Mahmoud Ghozlan.

Tens of thousands gathered at the palace the day before, some camping out for the night, to demand that Morsi leave office. Walls of the building were sprayed with anti-Morsi graffiti.

"Leave!" protesters shouted, the comments aimed at the president. The events were viewed with gravity by the national press. "The final warning, the presidency under siege," read the headline of daily newspaper al-Shuruk.

Opponents of the president are calling on him to cancel a decree that reduces the checks on his power, making his decisions immune to judicial review. The changes announced on November 22 were aimed at smoothing the drafting of constitutional referendum by an Islamist-dominated panel.

rc/msh (AFP, AP, Reuters, dpa)

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