Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has returned to his palace, but some 200 protesters are still blocking one of the entrances. The president was forced to flee his residence on Tuesday when protesters clashed with police.
At least 18 people were injured in the violence as around 10,000 demonstrators gathered near Morsi’s palace in Cairo for the protest.
Presidential sources said that Morsi left the palace shortly after the violence broke out.
Protesters broke through police lines and barbed wire barricades in front of the presidential palace, with riot police responding with tear gas.
To avoid further confrontation police forces then reportedly retreated, allowing the demonstrators to move closer to the palace.
Thousands of demonstrators marched to the palace in protest of Morsi’s decree which grants him near absolute powers, and a draft constitution which was quickly adopted by his allies.
“The revolution was ended by these people. We are not fighting for a new revolution, but simply want but what we struggled for. This is a continuity from January 2011,” Shimaa Helmy, a human right activist, told RT.
The march came as no surprise – earlier on Tuesday, demonstrators warned they would approach the palace if action was not taken.
“This is the last warning before we lay siege on the presidential palace,” 21-year-old protester Mahmoud Hashim told AP. “We want the presidential decrees cancelled.”
A crowd of several hundred protesters also gathered outside a mosque in the Abbasiyah district earlier in the day shouting, “Freedom or we die! Mohammed Morsi! Illegitimate! Brotherhood! Illegitimate!”
Demonstrators assembled in front of Morsi’s residence shouting, “Down with the sons of dogs. We are the power and we are the people!”
Morsi has called for a nationwide referendum on the draft constitution on December 15.
A woman stands near barbed wire in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, December 4, 2012. (Reuters / Mohamed Abd El Ghany)
Morsi losing his grip?
Tuesday’s events highlight the split within Egyptian society, with many hoping for change as Morsi’s power seems to disappoint an increasing number of Egyptians, Ahmed Fathi, a Middle East journalist, told RT.
“It shows that Morsi is not in full control of the organizations that form the Egyptian state. He is not in full control of the police forces. He is not in full control of the army. He is not in control of anything other than the Islamo-fascist group – the Muslim Brotherhood. The Egyptians are showing once more that they can stand up to restore the revolution back, to restore its demands: freedom, social justice, human dignity.”
Liberal forces in Egypt must once again rise up and defend the values they fought for in 2011, Fathi says.
“I would hope that they will start another revolution, much more stronger than the 18 days that removed the military dictator Hosni Mubarak. Showing yet another time that they have the sense and the sensibility to remove yet another dictator – another pharaoh in the making, an Islamo-fascist leader such as Mohamed Morsi,” he added.
Egyptian protesters demonstrate outside the presidential palace in Cairo, December 4, 2012. (Reuters / Mohamed Abd El Ghany)
Anti-Mursi protesters run from smoke from a tear gas canister thrown by riot police, during clashes in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, December 4, 2012. (Reuters / Amr Dalsh)
An anti-Mursi protester damages a riot police vehivle during a demonstration in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, December 4, 2012. (Reuters / Amr Dalsh)
Protesters chant anti-Mursi slogans in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, December 4, 2012. (Reuters / Amr Dalsh)