CAIRO, Nov 23: Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s decision to assume sweeping powers caused fury among his opponents and prompted violent clashes in central Cairo and other cities on Friday.

Police fired tear gas near Cairo’s Tahrir Square, heart of the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak, where thousands demanded Mr Morsi quit and accused him of launching a “coup”. There were violent protests in Alexandria, Port Said and Suez.

Opponents accused Mr Morsi, who has issued a decree that puts his decisions above legal challenge until a new parliament is elected, of being the “new Mubarak” and hijacking the revolution.

“The people want to bring down the regime,” shouted protesters in Tahrir, echoing a chant used in the uprising that forced Mr Mubarak to step down. “Get out, Morsi,” they chanted, along with “Mubarak tell Morsi, jail comes after the throne”.

Mr Morsi’s aides said the presidential decree was intended to speed up a protracted transition that has been hindered by legal obstacles but the president’s rivals condemned him as an “autocratic pharaoh” who wanted to impose his Islamist vision on Egypt.—Reuters

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