By Samer al-Atrush (AFP) – CAIRO — Egypt’s army prepared to clear demonstrators from outside President Mohamed Morsy’s palace Thursday and ban protests there, after Morsy supporters and opponents clashed overnight in the deadliest violence since his election.
“The Republican Guard has decided to clear the area around the presidential palace at 1500 local time (1300 GMT) and ban protests around institutions belonging to the presidency,” a presidential statement said.
Morsy was expected to deliver a televised address to the nation after five people were killed in the clashes pitting Islamists against an opposition that has escalated protests since he assumed extensive powers on November 22.
Egypt’s top Islamic body called on him to suspend the decree and demanded an unconditional dialogue between the president and his opponents. Morsy should “suspend the latest decree and stop using it,” the Al-Azhar institution said in a statement.
The street battles outside the Itihadiya palace in northern Cairo also wounded 644 people, many from birdshot, the health ministry reported.
By Thursday morning, the Republican Guard, the division tasked with protecting the presidency, deployed at least 10 tanks and troops outside the palace.