5 killed, 1,500 injured in Egyptian clashes

2012-12-06 21:41:09 GMT2012-12-07 05:41:09(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood (MB) group announced Thursday that five of the group members have been killed and another 1,500 injured in Wednesday's clashes between the opponents and supporters of President Mohamed Morsi, the Brotherhood said in a statement issued Thursday.

The statement said the clashes flared up when some armed groups tried to break into the presidential palace, describing the incident as treachery, bullying and terrorization.

"The MB members went to demonstrate peacefully in front of the palace, expressing their support to the presidency and to the constitution referendum," the statement said.

Putting barbed wires along the ways to the presidential palace, Egypt's Republican Guards ordered earlier Thursday the protesters outside the palace to leave the area by 3:00 p.m. local time (1300 GMT). It also decided to ban any demonstrations in the areas of the presidency premises.

According to state-run Nile TV, Morsi will address the nation later on Thursday on the recent incidents.

Egyptians have been protesting against the constitutional declaration issued by President Morsi and the draft constitution mainly written by Islamists.

On Nov. 22, Morsi issued a new constitutional declaration which rules that all laws, decrees and constitutional declarations issued by the president since he came into office on June 30 are final and unchallengeable by anybody, which triggered a new wave of nationwide protests.

Morsi later promised that the declaration was only temporary and would be withdrawn as soon as the draft constitution is approved by Egyptians in the upcoming referendum, which was scheduled on Dec. 15. But the move failed to quench the massive protests.

Morsi invites opposition for dialogue Saturday

Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi delivered a long-waited speech on Thursday night denouncing recent bloody clashes outside the presidential palace and inviting all opposition forces to meet on Saturday for dialogue.

Morsi said in case the draft constitution is disapproved in the Dec. 15 referendum, he would call for the formation of a new constituent assembly.

The president noted he was willing to give up Article 6 of the constitutional declaration if necessary, which gives him the right to take "any required measures" to protect the country, after the dialogue with the political forces.

He also reaffirmed the constitutional declaration was only meant to protect the country and to respond to accomplish the new constitution. Morsi stressed that Saturday's meeting with opposition figures, heads of political parties and revolutionary youth is aimed to reach an inclusive and productive agreement to unite Egyptians and to outline a roadmap in case the draft constitution was declined by the public, asserting the constitutional referendum would be held on Dec. 15 as scheduled.

Morsi lamented the death of six people in Wednesday's clashes outside the palace, noting that the affiliates with the former regime were involved in the confrontation by hiring thugs and providing them with weapons to cause strife and instigate violence among peaceful protesters.

On Nov. 22, Morsi issued a new constitutional declaration which rules that all laws, decrees and constitutional declarations issued by the president since he came into office on June 30 are final and unchallengeable by anybody, which triggered a new wave of nationwide protests.

Morsi later promised that the declaration was only temporary and would be withdrawn as soon as the draft constitution is approved by Egyptians in the upcoming referendum, which was scheduled on Dec. 15. But the move failed to quench the massive protests.

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