Egypt army deploys tanks near Prez palace; crisis deepens
Egypt's Army today deployed tanks outside the Presidential Palace here after overnight clashes between supporters and opponents of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi killed at least five people and left nearly 450 injured as rampaging mobs targeted offices of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Tanks and armoured cars were positioned outside the Presidential Palace as hundreds of Morsi's supporters chanted slogans in his favour, amid growing unrest over a controversial draft Constitution.
Violence continued today as Morsi's opponents attacked the headquarters of the Freedom and Justice Party, the Muslim Brotherhood's political arm, in several cities.
Clashes between supporters and opponents of Morsi left five people dead and nearly 450 others injured, officials said.
However, there was no word on it from the presidency which said Morsi is likely to deliver a speech shortly.
Supporters of Morsi responded to a call to rally outside the Presidential Palace yesterday, while the mainly secular opponents of the President were already staging a sit-in protest there.
Vice President Mahmoud Mekki said yesterday the vote on the draft Constitution was still scheduled for 15 December. He, however, added that the "door for dialogue" remained open.
Egyptian diplomatic missions have announced that they will boycott supervision of the referendum on the Constitution if it goes ahead as planned on December 15.
Muslim Brotherhood leaders and their supporters, meanwhile, headed to the Presidential Palace to express support for Morsi.
The Brotherhood announced that one of their members was among the five people killed in the clashes.
Separately, the National Salvation Front led by Mohamed Al-Baradei denounced the violence and noted that they were ready for any form of peaceful escalation, including civil disobedience.
Muslim Brotherhood leaders blamed the remnants of the former regime of Hosni Mubarak for the violent incidents.
The draft Constitution has added to the anger over Morsi passing a decree in late November which granted him sweeping new powers.
Reports reaching here said the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party in Ismalilya was set on fire. A similar incident was reported from the city of Zagazig in delta region.
Private TV stations postponed their planned black out in view of escalating tensions, a day after 11 newspapers withheld their editions in protest against the Constitutional declaration which immunises the president, Constituent Assembly as well as the Shura
Council from the judiciary.