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Relative calm prevails outside Egypt's presidential palace as tanks deployed

English.news.cn   2012-12-07 00:28:56            

CAIRO, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- A relative calm prevailed outside the Egyptian presidential palace Thursday afternoon as presidential guards, armored vehicles and tanks were deployed around the area, blocking roads to the palace with barbed wires.

The deployment comes after a long night of bloody clashes between supporters and opponents of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, which killed at least five and injured around 700.

There were still tens of people gathering around the presidential palace, as dozens of security forces vehicles and ambulances arrived, foreshadowing concerns about further marches of protestors and possible clashes.

Eyewitnesses told Xinhua that as the forces evacuated the area at around 3:00 p.m. (1300 GMT), Morsi's supporters, mostly Islamists, "wrapped their weapons, axes, sticks and other stuff with blankets and loaded them into small cars and left."

There were no clashes during the evacuation process, eyewitnesses said.

Egyptians have been protesting for weeks against a constitutional declaration issued by Morsi and the draft constitution written mainly by Islamists. On Nov. 22, Morsi issued a new constitutional declaration which rules that all laws, decrees and constitutional declarations issued by the president since he came into office on June 30 are final and unchallengeable by anybody, triggering a nationwide wave of protests.

Morsi is expected to deliver later a speech on the ongoing crisis.

"He must leave," Hafez Fekry, one of the protesters gathering around the palace, to Xinhua Thursday afternoon.

Hesham el-Shazly, a member of the Egyptian Front for Arab Solidarity, said Morsi has to amend the disputed articles in the draft constitution, engage in a dialogue with the opposition, distance himself from the Muslim Brotherhood, whose electoral muscle put him into the office, and prove to be a president of all Egyptians.

Meanwhile, Ahmed Refaat, a middle-aged engineer who lives nearby, denounced the protesters and clashes as "crazy." "We live in the same country and the same land. If we have some disputes, we need to talk and cooperate with each other," said Refaat, noting that half of the protesters came from other governorates like Ismailiya and Fayum.

"I voted for Morsi because I believed he could bring stability back to our life. I think he should be as brave as his predecessors like President Nasser and Sadat," said Refaat, calling Morsi to go into the protesters and ask about their demands directly.

"He should act braver rather than just be a puppet of the brotherhood," Refaat added.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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