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Clashes Turn Violent at Egyptian Presidential Palace
December 5, 2012

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President Mohamed Morsi continues to keep out of the public eye, as protests become increasingly violent on the streets of Cairo and other Egyptian cities.

A large group of protesters who had earlier ringed the presidential palace then sent up tents, anticipating a long vigil awaiting an answer to their calls for Morsi to give up the expansive powers he assumed in a decree a few weeks ago. The tents were ultimately removed by a large pro-Morsi group of members of the Muslim Brotherhood, and several people were injured in the police-observed confrontation at the palace, in Heliopolis.

Vice-president Mahmoud Mekki made a public statement, insisting that the referendum would go ahead as planned on December 15 but that if the constitution were approved by a majority of voters, then changes could still be made after the vote. Echoing Morsi's earlier statement, Mekki encouraged an ongoing dialog.

Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed El-Baradei and Amr Moussa spoke out against the referendum and Morsi's decree, at a news conference organized by the main opposition group, the National Rescue Front. One of the opposition's main complaints is that the draft constitution doesn't appear to provide enough protection for political and religious freedom or for the rights of women.

Morsi also lost two more advisers, bringing to five the number who have resigned in protest against recent events.

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