News from Cairo indicates that thousands of people are thronging the presidential palace, protesting against the Muslim Brotherhood-directed Nov. 22 decree that, if approved through referendum set for Dec. 15, will provide President Morsi with sweeping powers and would place him beyond the reach of the judiciary. The number of protesters grew in leaps and bounds throughout Dec. 3-4, forcing President Morsi to flee the palace. He came back on Dec. 5 surreptitiously and soon after several thousands of Muslim Brotherhood-supporters chased opposition protesters from a camp they had set up outside the palace.
The pro-Morsi activists rallied to the call of the Muslim Brotherhood, chanting "the people want to cleanse the square" of opposition demonstrators, and "Morsi has legitimacy." Minor clashes involving stone-throwing took place before the secular-leaning opposition protesters who had besieged the building on Dec.4, fled the area, an AFP photographer reported.
The Muslim Brotherhood's political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), say they are determined to "stay the course" in upholding President Mohamed Morsi's contentious constitutional declaration, and by holding the referendum on the no-less contentious draft constitution as scheduled on Dec. 15, a leading member of the FJP told Ahram Online. In the evening, as the demonstrators tried to regroup, bolstered by new arrivals of anti-Morsi activists from Tahrir Square, street battles broke out with both sides hurling stones and Molotov cocktails at each other. Finally, the Brotherhood supporters began firing pellet guns, charging and using their superior numbers and fire-power to disperse the opposition.
It was also reported from Cairo that the FJP would take part in pro-Morsi demonstrations on Friday (Dec 7), which had been announced late Dec. 4 night by Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya, following a meeting of Islamist political forces at the Muslim Brotherhood's headquarters in Cairo's Muqatam district, threatening violent confrontations with the people.