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Thousands of opposition protesters surrounded the presidential palace in Cairo on Tuesday night forcing Egyptian security to hustle president Mohamed Mursi out of the building.

Police fired teargas at up to 10,000 demonstrators angered by Mursi’s recent decree to extend his own powers and his drive to hold a referendum on a new constitution on December 15.

However the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political party in Egypt – the Freedom and Justice Party ( FJP) – Saad al-Katatni, played down the unrest:

“The crisis we’ve been going through for two weeks is coming to and end and very soon, God willing. The people will express themselves, their satisfaction or anger, until the referendum, and after that’s held, I think matters will stabilise in the long term.”

Earlier protesters had turned out in Egypt’s second city, Alexandria.

Although some say Mursi is facing the gravest crisis in his six-month-old tenure, the Islamist president shows no sign of buckling under pressure.

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