On Tuesday, police cars surrounded the Square, the first time they had appeared in the area since Nov. 23, shortly after a decree by the Islamist president giving himself sweeping temporary powers touched off widespread protests. (Reuters)
By AL ARABIYA WITH AGENCIES
Protesters opposed to Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi on Tuesday breached concrete barricades built outside the presidential palace in Cairo on Tuesday, forcing back the soldiers manning it.
There was no violent confrontation. The protesters pulled apart a high metal gate bar by bar and toppled concrete blocks with chains.
Soldiers, who had erected the barrier on the weekend to block access roads following violent clashes in the area last week, fell back closer to the palace, which is surrounded by a high brick wall. Six tanks were stationed close to the compound.
The protesters were part of a crowd expected to swell to tens of thousands through Tuesday night to denounce a referendum proposed by President Mursi on a draft new constitution written up by his Islamist allies.
Earlier, nine people were hurt when gunmen fired at protesters camping in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, according to witnesses and Egyptian media.
Supporters of the Islamist leader, who want the vote to go ahead as planned on Saturday, were also gathering in the capital, setting the stage for further street confrontations in a political crisis that has divided the Arab world’s most populous nation.