Egyptians Flood Tahrir Square, This Time To Protest Morsi

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Nov. 27 2012 1:30 PM

Egyptians Flood Tahrir Square, This Time To Protest Morsi

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Tens of thousands people take part in a mass rally against a decree by President Mohamed Morsi granting himself broad powers on Nov. 27, 2012 at Egypt's landmark Tahrir Square in Cairo

Photograph by Gianluigi Guerica/AFP/Getty Images.

Tens of thousands of protesters descended on Tahrir Square in Cairo on Tuesday to protest President Mohammed Morsi's refusal to budge on sweeping new powers he granted himself last week. 

Here's how the Associated Press describes the scene:

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Shortly after nightfall, Tahrir — birthplace of the uprising that toppled authoritarian president Hosni Mubarak nearly two years ago — was filled with a crowd that appeared to easily exceed 100,000, even before the arrival of thousands more still marching there. The protest was comparable in size to the daily Tahrir rallies during last year's 18-day uprising.
Ringing out at the square was the central chant of the 2010-2011 Arab Spring revolts: "The people want to bring down the regime," and "erhal, erhal" — Arabic for "leave, leave."

If you missed the lead-up to this story over the holiday weekend, here's the gist: On Thursday, citing deadlock in Egypt's transition from former the Mubarak regime, Morsi granted himself nearly absolute power in the country. The country's top judges protested the move over the weekend, which makes sense, as the decree weakens their reach (as the National explains, the country's judges are seen as hostile to Morsi's administration even without a perceived attack on their power). Protests were scheduled for Tuesday by various groups critical of the government, ahead of which protesters clashed with police. In addition to the Tahrir protests, events were planned in Alexandria and other Egyptian cities.

As the Guardian's liveblog of the Egypt unrest indicates, eyes are now turning to the possibility of counter protests by the Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi's party. But it looks like the party will now face an energized opposition that appear to be unifying against Morsi's decree.

Abby Ohlheiser is a Slate contributor.