Egypt’s Morsi Stands by Decree as Tanks, Troops Guard His Palace
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, protected in his palace by tanks and troops, stood by a controversial decree that expanded his powers and warned Thursday that he would not tolerate efforts to overthrow his government, which was rocked by violent clashes overnight between his supporters and opponents.
In a televised speech, Morsi also sought to tamp down opposition to last month’s decree, calling for “comprehensive and productive” dialogue with opponents and insisting that he is not shielding his decisions from judicial review, news agencies reported.
Morsi delivered the speech Thursday night after the Egyptian military’s elite Republican Guard deployed tanks and barbed-wire barricades around his presidential palace to restore order and discourage further clashes.
Thousands of Morsi supporters from the powerful Muslim Brotherhood organization heeded the Guard’s mid-afternoon deadline to withdraw from the area, but scores of opponents — kept at a distance by the barricades — continued to demonstrate across the street from the palace, chanting slogans against the Islamist president.
The clashes, in which Egypt’s divided and angry revolutionaries battled each other with rocks, molotov cocktails, sticks and clubs, left the capital on edge and raised concerns about the stability of the country’s first democratically elected government and its relationship with the military.