Tens of thousands of Egyptians swarmed around President Mohamed Mursi’s palace in Cairo on Friday. The protesters want the President to retract a decree that has given him sweeping powers since the 22nd November.
They also want Egypt’s first democratically elected head of state, to cancel next week’s referendum on the constitution which was drafted by the Islamist-dominated assembly.
One protester said: “Our supposedly elected president has declared a dictatorship in the country, just to push through with his party, and to ignore the demands of the rest of the people in this city. We are here to tell him that this is unacceptable.“
Another added:“The people must unite, forget all of the different political factions. Egypt has been confiscated and we must take it back. It doesn’t matter who we unite behind we’ve just got to get rid of the Muslim brotherhood.”
Opposition leaders had earlier rejected a dialogue offered by Mursi. The recent crisis has polarised the country and provoked violent street clashes which left seven brotherhood supporters dead this week.
But Friday’s demonstration remained relatively peaceful as protesters pushed their way past the Elite Republican Guard units and barbed wire that ringed the palace.