Republican guard orders demonstrators to evacuate

Thursday, December 06, 2012 2:22 PM 
Police sealing al-Merghani street in front of the presidential palace - Reuters

Egypt’s Republican Guard, responsible for securing presidential installments, has ordered all demonstrators to evacuate the area surrounding the presidential palace by 3 p.m. on Thursday, the president's office has said.

Five people were killed and more than 400 were injured in scuffles that began on Wednesday evening and continued until the early hours of Thursday by Egypt's presidential palace where the army has now deployed tanks.

Political turmoil erupted when President Mohamed Mursi issued a constitutional decree on November 22 shielding his decisions from judicial challenges and escalated as he called for a December 15 referendum on a draft constitution written by an Islamist-dominated assembly.  

Thousands of Egyptians marched to the presidential palace on Tuesday to express their outage with the president's decree and the controversial draft charter.

In response, the Muslim Brotherhood called on its, and Mursi's, supporters to head to the presidential palace on Wednesday to teach opposition forces that they cannot "shake legitimacy or forcibly impose their views."

The two parties started clashing after thousands of Mursi supporters headed to the palace on Wednesday afternoon, forced out opponents, taking down their tents and ultimately ending their sit-in.

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