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Crowd Forces Morsi to Vacate Presidential Palace
December 4, 2012

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A crowd numbering in the thousands battled police outside the presidential building in Cairo, prompting Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi to vacate the premises.

The gathering was large enough to break through police lines in one location and close to the perimeter wall before being restrained. Dozens were injured in the clash. A smaller group gathered near Morsi's living quarters, in a Cairo suburb. Police quickly closed off the road. Similar, smaller protests took place elsewhere, including Alexandria, the second-largest city.

The protesters continued to voice their opposition to Morsi's decree granting himself expansive powers, including immunity from judicial oversight. Morsi has insisted that he will give up the new powers when the country has a ratified constitution. December 15 is the date for a referendum on a proposed government framework, which was finished by a constitution-writing panel absent Christians and other liberal members who had resigned in protest at what they saw as a lessened protection of minority rights.

Egyptian markets reported a small increase in stock prices, but many other high-profile businesses were shuttered or suspended. None of the most widely read independent newspapers published on Tuesday. Privately owned television networks planned a day of outages on Wednesday. A large number of banks sent employees early on Tuesday, in hopes of avoiding trouble.

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