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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Anti-Mursi protesters breach presidential palace barricades, Egypt Judges Club rejects to oversee referendum.


Anti-Mursi protesters breach presidential palace barricades, Egypt Judges Club rejects to oversee referendum.(AA).Protesters opposed to Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi on Tuesday breached concrete barricades built outside the presidential palace in Cairo on Tuesday, forcing back the soldiers manning it.
There was no violent confrontation. The protesters pulled apart a high metal gate bar by bar and toppled concrete blocks with chains.
Soldiers, who had erected the barrier on the weekend to block access roads following violent clashes in the area last week, fell back closer to the palace, which is surrounded by a high brick wall. Six tanks were stationed close to the compound.
The protesters were part of a crowd expected to swell to tens of thousands through Tuesday night to denounce a referendum proposed by President Mursi on a draft new constitution written up by his Islamist allies. Earlier, nine people were hurt when gunmen fired at protesters camping in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, according to witnesses and Egyptian media.
Supporters of the Islamist leader, who want the vote to go ahead as planned on Saturday, were also gathering in the capital, setting the stage for further street confrontations in a political crisis that has divided the Arab world’s most populous nation.
Police cars surrounded Tahrir Square in central Cairo, the first time they had appeared in the area since Nov. 23, shortly after a decree by Mursi awarding himself sweeping temporary powers that touched off widespread protests.
The upheaval following the fall of Hosni Mubarak last year is causing concern in the West, in particular the United States, which has given Cairo billions of dollars in military and other aid since Egypt made peace with Israel in 1979.
The Tahrir Square attackers, some masked, also threw petrol bombs which started a small fire, witnesses said.
The masked men came suddenly and attacked the protesters in Tahrir. The attack was meant to deter us and prevent us from protesting today. We oppose these terror tactics and will stage the biggest protest possible today,” said John Gerges, a Christian Egyptian who described himself as a socialist.
The latest bout of unrest has so far claimed seven lives in clashes between the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood and opponents who are also besieging Mursi’s presidential palace.
The elite Republican Guard which protects the palace has yet to use force to keep protesters away from the graffiti-daubed building, now ringed with tanks, barbed wire and concrete barricades.
The army has told all sides to resolve their differences through dialogue, saying it would not allow Egypt to enter a “dark tunnel”. For the period of the referendum, the army has been granted police powers by Mursi, allowing it to arrest civilians.
The army has portrayed itself as the guarantor of the nation’s security but so far it has shown no appetite for a return to the bruising front-line political role it played after the fall of Mubarak, which severely damaged its standing. Mohamed ElBaradei, a prominent opposition leader and Nobel prize winner, called for dialogue with Mursi and said the referendum should be postponed for a couple of months due to the chaotic situation.
“This revolution was not staged to replace one dictator with another,” he said in an interview with CNN.Hmmmm......Obama sure was a whole lot faster to tell Mubarak to go.Read the full story here.

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