Egypt's army issues ultimatum on Morsi palace protests

Egypt's army issues ultimatum on Morsi palace protests

CAIRO - Reuters
Egypts army issues ultimatum on Morsi palace protests

Egyptians walk past army tanks deployed near the presidential palace in Cairo after five demonstrators died overnight in clashes between supporters and opponents of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi on December 6, 2012. AFP photo

Egypt's army will clear protesters still outside the presidential palace at 1300 GMT and ban any demonstrations near the complex after deadly overnight clashes, the presidency said in a statement.
"The Republican Guard has decided to clear the area around the presidential palace at 1500 local time and ban protests around institutions belonging to the presidency," the statement said.

Supporters and opponents of Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi hurled rocks at each other on Thursday outside the presidential palace, over the heads of soldiers deployed there to protect the building, a Reuters witness said.

Soldiers urged both sides to stop and helped calm the flare-up. Violence outside the palace that erupted on Wednesday had mostly abated by the early hours of Thursday. At least five people were killed and 350 wounded in the violence, the health ministry said.

Muslim Brotherhood leader warns against divisions in Egypt

The head of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood called for unity on Thursday, saying divisions only served "the nation's enemies", his first public statement since clashes killed at least five people and wounded hundreds overnight.

"Our divisions and fragmentation only serve the nation's enemies," Mohamed Badie said in a statement published on the website of the group that propelled President Mohamed Mursi to power in a June election.

Mursi's opponents and supporters clashed outside the presidential palace on Wednesday in violence that stretched into the early hours of Thursday.

President Mohamed Mursi will give a speech to the nation today, the state-run Nile News TV said, quoting a presidential adviser. It gave no further details.

Egypt army deploys to protect presidency - state news agency

An Egyptian military deployment around the presidential palace aims to secure the building, the state news agency reported on Thursday, following violent protests between supporters and opponents of President Mohamed Mursi in the area.

"The Republican Guard began a deployment around the headquarters of the presidency ... to secure the headquarters of the presidency in its capacity as a symbol of the state and the official headquarters of government," the agency reported.

Reuters witnesses counted at least five tanks and nine armoured personnel carriers around the presidency. The Republican Guard is responsible for guarding presidential offices across the country.