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Egyptian Riot Police Fire Tear Gas at Protesters

  • VOA News

Egyptian protesters stand in front of barbed wire beyond the presidential palace in Cairo, December 4, 2012.

Egyptian protesters stand in front of barbed wire beyond the presidential palace in Cairo, December 4, 2012.

Egyptian riot police Tuesday fired tear gas outside the presidential palace as tens of thousands of protesters marched against President Mohamed Morsi.

Police tried to stop the crowd from storming the palace where Morsi was inside conducting business. The police soon retreated and let the marchers through a barrier and up to the palace walls. Egyptian officials say Morsi had left the palace during the march.

Egypt's Draft Constitution

  • Limits president to two four-year terms
  • Provides protections against arbitrary detention and torture
  • Islamic law, or Sharia, serves as the basis for legislation
  • Religious freedom is limited to Muslims, Christians and Jews
  • Citizens are deemed equal before the law and equal in rights
Many of the marchers chanted the same anti-government slogans used in the uprising that toppled former authoritarian president Hosni Mubarak.

Protest leaders called Tuesday's march a last warning to Morsi to back down from his decree giving himself nearly unlimited powers and placing himself above the judiciary. They also are marching against a draft constitution that the opposition says was drawn up by Islamists, without input from secularists and liberals.

A referendum on the constitution is set for December 15.

Also Tuesday, 11 Egyptian newspapers suspended publication to protest the draft constitution. Journalists say it puts restrictions on free speech.
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