Dozens in Tahrir sit-in following Friday's anti-Morsi mass protests

Ahram Online, Saturday 24 Nov 2012

Anti-Morsi demonstrations Friday leave the air heavy with teargas residue and many injured from continuous clashes between protesters and police on adjacent Mohamed Mahmoud and Qasr Al-Eini Streets overnight

Dozens in Tahrir sit-in following Friday
Egyptian protesters chant anti-government slogans and wave a national flag in Tahrir Square, Friday, Nov. 23, 2012. Supporters and opponents of Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi staged rival rallies Friday after he assumed sweeping new powers, a clear show of the deepening polarization plaguing the country. In a Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012 (Photo: AP)

Dozens of protesters from 15 political groups remain in Tahrir Square Saturday after Friday's thousands-strong protests staged by non-Islamist groups against Morsi's power-consolidating presidential decree.

Protesters have roughly 25 tents up in and around the square, controlling the entrances. Teargas remnants still hang in the air from five days of continuous clashes between dozens of protesters and police forces on Mohamed Mahmoud and Qasr Al-Eini Streets, just off the square.

A number of Central Security soldiers are atop the American University building on Mohamed Mahmoud Street, firing teargas, reports Ahram Online journalist.

There was also sporadic birdshot firing in Qasr Al-Eini.

Significantly, a field hospital doctor told Ahram Online he received a protester injured from live ammunition late Friday night, as well as several birdshot injuries in the face and the abdomen.

Egypt's health ministry previously reported that 153 have been injured in clashes on Mohamed Mahmoud Street, while on Saturday it reports 213 have been injured across the country in the past two days.

At least three mob sexual assaults against female Egyptian protesters around the square are known to have taken place Friday evening.

Parties and groups staging the sit-in include the liberal Constitution Party, leftist Popular Current, Socialist Popular Alliance party, 6th of April, liberal Free Egyptians Party, liberal Egyptian Social Democratic party, Youth for Justice and Freedom group, Kefaya movement, the National Front for Justice Democracy and Maspero Youth Union.

Over 30 opposition political groups had said they would protest for the dismissal of Morsi's cabinet; the prosecution of police officers responsible for killing and injuring protesters in the series of clashes that followed last year's Tahrir Square uprising and a purge and restructuring of Egypt's national police force.

However, when Morsi announced his power-consolidating constitutional declaration the focus of the protests switched.

Morsi already enjoys legislative powers. The newly-announced constitutional declaration says that the president's decisions cannot be overturned by any judicial authority – putting him out of judicial reach. Commentators, critics and protesters soon dubbed Morsi the "new Pharaoh."

The declaration also replaces the prosecutor-general, which Morsi had attempted to remove weeks ago, but couldn't due to a legal barrier - which he managed to eliminate in Thursday's decree.

Morsi also ordered the retrial of ousted president Hosni Mubarak, who was given a life sentence in jail in June, as well as his regime aides.

The United Nations and the European Union released statements Friday denouncing Morsi's decree.

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