Today marks the two year anniversary of the overthrow of veteran autocrat Hosni Mubarak in Egypt
Protesters demanding the departure of Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi clashed with police outside his palace on Monday on the second anniversary of the overthrow of veteran autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
Dozens of youths threw rocks at the Ettihadiya palace after a peaceful march by thousands of demonstrators who accused Mursi’s conservative Muslim Brotherhood of hijacking Egypt’s democratic revolution and seeking to monopolize power.
READ ON: Egypt protesters, police clash on Mubarak anniversary
Tens of thousands of Egyptian protesters surged around the presidential palace on Friday and the opposition rejected President Mohamed Mursi’s call for dialogue to end a crisis that has polarized the nation and sparked deadly clashes.
The Islamist leader’s deputy said he could delay a December 15 referendum on a constitution that liberals opposed, although the concession only partly meets a list of opposition demands that include scrapping a decree that expanded Mursi’s powers.
“The people want the downfall of the regime” and “Leave, leave,” crowds chanted after bursting through barbed wire barricades and climbing on tanks guarding the palace of Egypt’s first freely elected president.
A Cairo court on Wednesday sentenced to death seven Egyptian Christians tried in absentia for participating in an anti-Islam video that was released on the Internet in September and had prompted violent protests in many Muslim countries.
“The seven accused persons were convicted of insulting the Islamic religion through participating in producing and offering a movie that insults Islam and its prophet,” Judge Saif al-Nasr Soliman said.
The crude, low-budget video, produced privately in California, denigrated the Prophet Mohammad and triggered anti-U.S. protests and attacks on Western embassies around the Muslim world.
Egypt’s president agreed on Monday that only his decisions related to “sovereign” matters would be protected from judicial review, his spokesman said, indicating he had accepted a judiciary-proposed compromise to try to defuse a crisis.
President Mohamed Mursi had enraged opponents with a decree on Thursday that expanded his powers and put beyond legal oversight any decision he took until parliament was in place. Senior judges proposed he limit that to “sovereign matters.”
READ ON: Egypt’s Mursi tells judges decree limited in scope
Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi’s decree exempting all his decisions from legal challenge until a new parliament was elected caused fury amongst his opponents on Friday who accused him of being the new Hosni Mubarak and hijacking the revolution.
Thousands of chanting protesters packed Tahrir Square, the heart of the 2011 anti-Mubarak uprising, demanding Mursi quit and accusing him of launching a “coup”. There were violent protests in Alexandria, Port Said and Suez.
Mursi’s aides said the presidential decree was to speed up a protracted transition that has been hindered by legal obstacles but Mursi’s rivals were quick to condemn him as a new autocratic pharaoh who wanted to impose his Islamist vision on Egypt.
Egypt announced on Wednesday that a ceasefire had been reached to end the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, starting later in the day.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr made the announcement in a joint news conference with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The ceasefire would come into effect at 15:00 EDT, said Amr, whose country has been at the heart of efforts to broker an end to the conflict.
“Egypt has made great efforts … since the start of the latest escalation in the Gaza Strip,” Amr said.
“These efforts and contacts have resulted in understandings to cease fire and restore calm and halt the bloodshed that the last period has seen,” he added.
“Egypt calls on all to monitor the implementation of what has been agreed under Egypt’s sponsorship and to guarantee the commitment of all the parties to what has been agreed,” he said.
A studio used by the Al Jazeera TV network in Cairo was set on fire on Wednesday in an attack that an employee said was carried out by a mob that had been chanting slogans against the Qatari-owned station.
The studio overlooks Tahrir Square and is located near the scene of violent clashes between youths and the security forces this week in which dozens of people have been injured. Those confrontations grew out of protests to mark the first anniversary of lethal street battles in the same area.
The first-floor office used by Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr, a station set up after the uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak, was badly damaged by fire.
[File photo used]