Pressure piles on Mursi as thousands of Egyptians protest

Opponents of President Mohammed Mursi rallied in Cairo's Tahrir Square for a fifth day on Tuesday stepping up calls to scrap a decree they say threatens Egypt with a new era of autocracy. The protest called by leftist, liberal and socialist groups marks an escalation of the worst crisis since the Muslim Brotherhood politician was elected in June and exposes the deep divide between newly empowered Islamists and their opponents. Clashes were taking place near the U.S. Embassy and the Egyptian capital's Tahrir square on Tuesday, birthplace of the uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak's regime nearly two years ago. Police fired tear gas and organizers urged demonstrators not to clash with Interior Ministry security forces. Gaber Salah, an activist, was killed and hundreds more injured in violence set off by a move that has also triggered a rebellion by judges and battered confidence in an economy struggling to recover from two years of turmoil. Activists have been camped out in Tahrir Square since Friday, blocking traffic and clashing intermittently with riot police in nearby streets. The decree issued by Mursi on Thursday expanded his powers and protected his decisions from judicial review until the election of a new parliament expected in the first half of 2013.

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