UK & World News

  • 28 November 2012, 10:36

Egypt: Major Protest Against President Morsi

More than 200,000 people packed Cairo's Tahrir Square to protest against Egypt's president Mohamed Morsi's new 'pharoah' powers.

They accused the Islamist leader of seeking to impose a new era of autocracy after he issued a decree that expanded his powers and barred court challenges to his decisions.

The demonstration in the iconic plaza was as large as some of the protests during last year's uprising that drove ex-president Hosni Mubarak from power.

The same chants aimed against Mr Mubarak have now been directed towards the country's first freely-elected leader.

Police fired tear gas at stone-throwing youths in streets near the protest and there were clashes between Mr Morsi's opponents and supporters in a city north of Cairo.

Mr Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, faces the biggest challenge in his five months in office.

"The people want to bring down the regime," protesters in Tahrir Square chanted, echoing slogans used in the 2011 revolt.

"We don't want a dictatorship again. The Mubarak regime was a dictatorship. We had a revolution to have justice and freedom," said 32-year-old Ahmed Husseini in Cairo.

Protesters also demonstrated in Alexandria, Suez, Minya and other Nile Delta cities.

A 52-year-old demonstrator died after inhaling teargas in Cairo, the second protester death since Mr Morsi issued his decree last week.

The president's administration has defended the decree as an attempt to speed up reforms and complete a democratic transformation.

But opponents say Mr Morsi is behaving like a modern-day pharaoh, a jibe that was levelled at Mr Mubarak.

Mr Morsi's move also provoked a rebellion by judges and has hit confidence in an economy struggling after two years of turmoil.

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