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Mass pro- and anti-Morsi rally in Egypt a day after controversial constitution approved

Thousands of Islamists stage a rally in front of Cairo's University on December 1, 2012, in support of Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi's new expanded powers and the drafting of a contested charter, in a clear show of Egypt's widening polarisation. (AFP Photo / Khaled Desouki)

Thousands of Islamists stage a rally in front of Cairo’s University on December 1, 2012, in support of Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi’s new expanded powers and the drafting of a contested charter, in a clear show of Egypt’s widening polarisation. (AFP Photo / Khaled Desouki)

Thousands of President Morsi’s supporters and opponents across Egypt are protesting over his expanded powers. The rallies come prior to the ratification of a new constitution. However, the document still may be dissolved by top judges.

­Thousands of people holding portraits of Morsi and flags have gathered outside Cairo University in the capital chanting pro-government slogans.

A supportive rally has been organized by the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist parties to show that the president’s recent moves were endorsed by the public.

The demonstration has been going relatively peacefully. However, a tree fell on demonstrators in front of Cairo University, killing one person and injuring at least 15, local Aswat Masriya news website reported.

Other demonstrators, against the president, are outraged over the draft constitution, which they say is “too Islamist,” as well as over the new sweeping powers the leader granted himself last week.

The opposition vowed plans to  intensify  street campaigns, civil disobedience  and  a possible march on Morsi’s presidential palace to prevent him from calling a nationwide referendum on the draft.

Saturday’s demonstrations in Cairo come after days of rival rallies by president’s supporters and opponents.

In the city of Alexandria protesters also continue their demonstration. There have been reports about anti-president protesters clashing with the police forces.

The violence started as two groups of demonstrators – supporters and opponents of Morsi – began hurling rocks at each other.

The draft constitution has been approved by the Islamist-dominated assembly, but can be revoked as the top court is set to decide on the assembly dissolution on Saturday.

This is despite the fact that Morsi’s emergency decree bars the judges from becoming involved.

The president is set to ratify the constitution draft later on Saturday, and he said that he would give up his expanded powers after the constitution is adopted by the referendum. The popular vote may take place as soon as in two weeks if Morsi announces its date on Saturday.

On Friday, tens of thousands took to Tahrir Square in Cairo, chanting “The people want the fall of the regime” – one of the main slogans during the last year’s uprising. In Alexandria, pro- and anti-Morsi supporters clashed in the streets.

Egyptian al-Azhar clerics hold a giant national flag as they shout slogans at rally in front of Cairo′s University on December 1, 2012. (AFP Photo / Khaled Desouki)
Egyptian al-Azhar clerics hold a giant national flag as they shout slogans at rally in front of Cairo’s University on December 1, 2012. (AFP Photo / Khaled Desouki)
Pro-Mursi protesters chant slogans in support of Egypt′s President Mohamed Mursi in Cairo December 1, 2012. (Reuters / Asmaa Waguih)
Pro-Mursi protesters chant slogans in support of Egypt’s President Mohamed Mursi in Cairo December 1, 2012. (Reuters / Asmaa Waguih)
A pro-Mursi supporter carries a sign bearing a picture of Egypt′s President Mohamed Mursi while riding on a motorcycle, ahead of a rally of Muslim Brotherhood supporters, in Cairo December 1, 2012. (Reuters / Asmaa Waguih)
A pro-Mursi supporter carries a sign bearing a picture of Egypt’s President Mohamed Mursi while riding on a motorcycle, ahead of a rally of Muslim Brotherhood supporters, in Cairo December 1, 2012. (Reuters / Asmaa Waguih)
Thousands of Islamists perform a prayer as they stage a rally in front of Cairo′s University on December 1, 2012.  (AFP Photo / Khaled Desouki)
Thousands of Islamists perform a prayer as they stage a rally in front of Cairo’s University on December 1, 2012. (AFP Photo / Khaled Desouki)
Pro-Mursi protesters chant slogans in support of Egypt′s President Mohamed Mursi in Cairo December 1, 2012. (Reuters / Asmaa Waguih)
Pro-Mursi protesters chant slogans in support of Egypt’s President Mohamed Mursi in Cairo December 1, 2012. (Reuters / Asmaa Waguih)

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