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September 29, 2022

Egypt: Morsi opponents vow to continue protests

Opponents of Egyptian President say they will continue their demonstration outside the presidential palace in Cairo while the Muslim Brotherhood calls for support rally.

Egyptians have been protesting against a controversial draft constitution and President Morsi’s decree granting himself wide-ranging new powers, the BBC reported. Police fired tear gas on Tuesday to disperse them. Mr Morsi’s Islamist Muslim Brotherhood movement has called for demonstrations in his support outside the palace.Some anti-Morsi protesters have erected tents around the perimeter wall after Tuesday saw tens of thousands of demonstrators besiege the palace and clash with police. Eighteen people were injured in the brief burst of violence but none seriously, the official Mena news agency reported. At one point, the security forces issued a televised statement saying President Morsi had left the building.Many of those gathered outside the palace, in the suburb of Heliopolis, chanted slogans similar to those directed against the regime of former President Hosni Mubarak during the uprising in February 2011. Mena reports that many anti-Morsi demonstrators have now ended their protests outside the presidential palace and returned to Tahrir Square, the focal point of most protests in the capital.  Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood has called for a support rally for Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, as anti-Morsi demonstrators remained camped out at Cairo’s Tahrir Square and in front of the presidential palace, Voice of America informs.The Islamist group called for the demonstration later Wednesday outside of the presidential palace. They said the rally was called because opposition protesters were trying to “impose their opinions through force.”In a statement read out on television, Egyptian security forces called for calm among the protesters. A sizeable crowd of protesters also turned out in Egypt’s second city Alexandria. President Morsi adopted sweeping new powers in a decree on 22 November, and stripped the judiciary of any power to challenge his decisions. He has also called a nationwide referendum for 15 December on a new constitution, which opponents say has been rushed through and fails to protect the rights of women and minorities.Mr Morsi, who narrowly won Egypt’s first free presidential election in June, says he will give up his new powers once a new constitution is ratified.But his actions have brought tens of thousands of people, both his supporters and his opponents, out onto the streets in recent days. Several newspapers refused to go to press on Tuesday, or printed blank front pages, in protest at what they said was the lack of press freedom in the constitution.

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