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Tens Of Thousands Of Protesters Descend On Presidential Palace In Egypt

Egyptian protesters shout slogans as they demonstrate outside of the presidential palace in Cairo Tuesday.
Gianluigi Guercia
AFP/Getty Images
Egyptian protesters shout slogans as they demonstrate outside of the presidential palace in Cairo Tuesday.

Tens of thousands of protesters descended on the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt today. The demonstrations were part of the growing outrage over President Mohammed Morsi's power grab and a new draft of the Egyptian constitution.

CBS reports:

"Crowds around the capital and in the coastal city of Alexandria were still swelling several hours after nightfall. The large turnout signaled sustained momentum for the opposition, which brought out at least 200,000 protesters to Cairo's Tahrir Square a week ago and a comparable number on Friday. They are demanding the Morsi rescind decrees that placed him above judicial oversight.

"In a brief outburst, police fired tear gas to stop protesters approaching the palace in the capital's Heliopolis district. Morsi was in the palace conducting business as usual while the protesters gathered outside. But he left for home through a back door when the crowds 'grew bigger,' according to a presidential official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters."

The New York Times reports that the size of the protest was a "blow to legitimacy of the new charter," which goes before voters Dec. 15.

The Times reports that leaders of the protest — mostly secular Egyptians who oppose Morsi's Islamist Muslim Brotherhood party — have yet to decide how they will tell supporters to vote on the constitution.

The newspaper says that aside from the protests, some media outlets stayed off the air and some newspapers did not print in protest of some of the constitution's limits on free speech.

Al Ahram was one of those participating in the "strike action," but it was still publishing online.

Al Ahram reports that outside the palace protesters chanted, "The people want to topple the regime," and "We will not leave, he will leave."

Here's a bit of video posted by Ahram:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.