Things are getting seriously intense for President Mohamed Morsi in Cairo this evening. Not unlike the days of the Arab Spring, and in advance of a referendum on the Egyptian constitution, once again Tahrir Square is full of protestors calling for Egypt's head of state to step down, and the presidential palace is surrounded by protestors.
Protestors gathered at the palace steps to protest the new constitution that Morsi is trying to pass with a public referendum on December 15. Passing said constitution was one of Morsi's reasons for issuing a decree giving him power above the courts, but protestors aren't happy with the way the bill was written primarily by Islamists and is getting rushed to approval. Not happy at all.
Palace security fired tear gas canisters into the crowds at the palace steps after some protestors tried to tear down the barbed wire blockades separating them from the palace doors. Eventually, though, security officials were forced to retreat back inside the palace. Morsi was forced to flee the palace as the skirmishes happened on his front door.
Protestors were chanting things like "Freedom, freedom," "Revolution until victory," "The people want to topple the regime," and "We will not leave, he will leave." If those chants don't remind you of the Arab Spring revolution that toppled former ruler Honsi Mubarak, well...
That's a screen shot from a Reuters broadcast outside of the Presidential palace.
Tahrir Square is full. The presidential palace is under siege. Anti-Morsi demonstrations are taking place in almost every province. #Egypt— Hossam عمو حسام (@3arabawy) December 4, 2012
Opponents of Morsi's were dealt a small blow Tuesday when a top judicial official said the country's top courts would cooperate and help carry out the referendum required to pass the constitution. The country's top courts have protested the document, loudly, so this most recent move could be a sign they're confident it won't survive the popular vote. The referendum will likely come down to how many opposition groups decide to boycott voting completely. Until then, expect to see more protests like this in the city's center leading up to December 15.
[Inset images: 1) AP; 2) Reuters; 3) Reuters; 4) Reuters]