Barriers set up at Cairo palace

The Egyptian army has set up barricades outside the presidential palace, after ordering protesters to leave the area.

It follows violent overnight clashes between supporters and opponents of President Mohammed Morsi that left five people dead and 644 injured.

Most protesters left the palace by the 15:00 (13:00 GMT) deadline, though some opposition activists remained.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s top Islamic body has called on the president to suspend his decree claiming sweeping powers.

The Al-Azhar institution also demanded an unconditional dialogue between the president and his opponents.

The BBC’s Jon Leyne in Cairo says this move by one of the most respected bodies in Sunni Islam has put President Morsi – who was largely brought to power by the powerful Islamist Muslim Brotherhood – under more pressure. …

Hundreds of President Mohammed Morsi’s supporters spent last night in front of the presidential palace in Cairo.

At around 13:30 local time (11:30 GMT) their mobile phones started to ring almost all at once.

Orders came through from the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood – to which Mr Morsi belongs – to clear the area for the Presidential Guard, a branch of the military whose official responsibility is to protect the president and presidential buildings.

It took only 15 minutes for the crowd to clear the huge area around the palace, a testament to the extremely organised nature of the Islamic movement.

As they left they seemed to be content with the way things have gone. True, it was a bloody night, which saw them clash for hours with the president’s opponents. Many of them were injured and a few killed in the process, but at the end they felt they had won this battle. …


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