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Wed Nov 26 01:10:48 SAST 2014

Rivals to take battle to Morsi's front-door step

Reuters | 06 December, 2012 00:46
LINE IN THE SAND: Anti-Morsi protesters in front of the presidential palace in Cairo on Tuesday. Egyptian police battled thousands of protesters outside President Mohamed Morsi's palace, prompting the Islamist leader to leave the building Picture: MOHAMED ABD EL GHANY/REUTERS

EGYPT'S Muslim Brotherhood called for a rally backing President Mohamed Morsi outside his palace yesterday and leftists planned a counter-demonstration, raising fears of clashes in the crisis over a disputed push for a new constitution.

Morsi returned to work at his compound a day after it came under siege from opposition protesters furious at his drive to ratify a new constitution in a snap referendum set for December 15, after temporarily expanding his powers by decree.

The Islamist president said he had acted to prevent courts still full of appointees from the era of autocratic predecessor Hosni Mubarak from derailing the draft constitution meant to complete a political transition.

The Brotherhood, from which Morsi emerged to win narrowly a free election in June, summoned supporters to a demonstration outside the palace in response to what it termed "oppressive abuses" by opposition parties.

Brotherhood spokesman Mahmoud Ghozlan was quoted on its Facebook page as saying opposition groups "imagined they could shake legitimacy or impose their views by force".

Leftist opposition leader Hamdeen Sabahy promptly urged his supporters to take to the streets too, heightening the chances of confrontation between Islamists and their opponents.

A spokesman for Sabahy's Popular Current movement asked protesters to head to the palace to reinforce those still camped there after Tuesday evening's protests.

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