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Cairo protests claim 6 lives; Morsi firm on constitutional draft

December 6, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
The political situation in Egypt continued to boil in the wake of President Mohammed Morsi's recent decree giving him unprecedented political power.

Opposition protesters rioted overnight Wednesday, clashing with Morsi supporters in the streets outside the Cairo palace where he lives. At least six were killed in the violence and nearly 700 were reportedly injured.

Protesters have swarmed the streets of Cairo over the past week after Morsi issued decrees on Nov. 22 placing him above governmental or judicial oversight, giving him nearly absolute political power. Morsi's allies then drafted a constitution that was publically disputed due to its heavy Islamist influence. Secular opponents decry the draft.

Morsi accuses the opposition of being remnants of the old regime of Hosni Mubarak, who was overthrown in 2011, a result of the sweeping "Arab Spring" that has toppled several regimes in the Middle East.

Thursday Morsi offered no concessions to the opposition and appeared to do nothing to defuse the political crisis. He did invite the opposition to a "comprehensive and productive" dialogue to begin on Saturday at his palace.

The opposition has already stated that it would not enter a dialogue with Morsi unless he first rescinds the decrees giving him nearly unrestricted powers and shelves the constitution draft.

A referendum vote on the draft of the constitution in dispute will be held on Dec. 15 despite the opposition.

Morsi was elected president in June.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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