Egypt's Morsi Flees Palace as Crowd Rages Outside

Activists battle tear gas, cut through perimeter fence
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 4, 2012 5:02 PM CST

(Newser) – Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi fled his palace today as tens of thousands of protesters raged outside and police fired tear gas into the crowd, the BBC reports. Liberal activists chanted slogans opposing Morsi's power grab and the country's hastily compiled new draft of a constitution: "Leave, leave!" they cried, reports Reuters. "He has made himself a fort and he says it is a temporary fort—this is something we cannot believe," said one protester in Cairo. "We've spent 30 years being betrayed—we won't believe Morsi, he will remain seated in the chair and not leave it."

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Some protesters cut through the palace's barbed wire fence to rally close to the perimeter wall; police retreated into the palace grounds, probably to avoid any skirmishes, the New York Times reports. On the sidelines, activists are debating whether to boycott a referendum for the new constitution—scheduled for Dec. 15—or organize to vote against it. And at least three TV networks went dark and 11 newspapers refused to publish today to protest limits on freedom of speech in the draft constitution. The government is already investigating three journalists for allegedly insulting the judiciary, which one activist called "authoritarianism. That is a lack of understanding of what 'free expression' means." (Read more Cairo stories.)

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