Egypt's Islamist president fled his palace by the back door Tuesday as riot police used clubs and tear gas to battle thousands of demonstrators protesting his seizure of broad powers that enabled him to push through a draft constitution.
Tensions heightened in advance of massive anti-government protests scheduled for Friday and Saturday after an Islamist-controlled panel hurriedly approved Thursday a final draft of Egypt's constitution that, among its new dictates, would grant Muslim clerics a role in interpreting some legal matters — angering critics and worrying minorities in this secular Islamic nation.
An Islamist-dominated assembly began a fast-track vote on a final draft of a new Egyptian constitution Thursday, pushing through the document despite liberals' boycott in a move likely to stoke a deepening political crisis between the Islamist president and the opposition.
More than 200,000 people packed Cairo's central Tahrir square on Tuesday, chanting against Egypt's Islamist president in a powerful show of strength by the opposition demanding Mohammed Morsi revoke edicts granting himself near autocratic powers.
Thousands of opponents of Egypt's Islamist president clashed with his supporters in cities across the country Friday, burning several offices of the Muslim Brotherhood, in the most violent and widespread protests since Mohammed Morsi came to power, sparked by his move to grant himself sweeping powers.
Egypt's Islamist president unilaterally decreed greater authorities for himself Thursday and effectively neutralized a judicial system that had emerged as a key opponent by declaring that the courts are barred from challenging his decisions.
While the international community is focused on the M23 rebellion, other armed groups have taken advantage of the security vacuum in eastern Congo and killed more than 260 people since April, says a U.N. report released Wednesday.
With Middle East tensions rising as Israel launched a major offensive against Palestinian militants, President Obama appealed Wednesday to Israel's prime minister to avoid civilian casualties and asked Egypt's president for help in calming the situation.
The United Arab Emirates set stricter Internet monitoring and enforcement codes Tuesday that include giving authorities wider leeway to crack down on Web activists for offenses such as mocking the country's rulers or calling for demonstrations.