Crowds Gather in Egypt For Day of Mass Protests
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Crowds gather in Cairo's Tahrir Square early Tuesday ahead of a critical day of protests. The planned demonstrations come amidst a continuing political crisis spareked when Islamist President Mohamed Mursi issued a decree placing himself above judicial oversight. Others are angry over a controversial draft constitution, passed in a rushed vote amidst the turmoil. The country is set to vote on the constitution on December 15, but some say this is not enough time for an informed vote.

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Crowds gather in Cairo's Tahrir Square early Tuesday ahead of a critical day of protests. The planned demonstrations come amidst a continuing political crisis spareked when Islamist President Mohamed Mursi issued a decree placing himself above judicial oversight. Others are angry over a controversial draft constitution, passed in a rushed vote amidst the turmoil. The country is set to vote on the constitution on December 15, but some say this is not enough time for an informed vote. (SOUNDBITE)(Arabic) CITIZEN SAYED EL SEBAIE, SAYING: "We need the public to understand the constitution, are 15 days sufficient to explain to the people 260 or 265 articles?" Several of the country's newspapers and television stations are also on strike, with newspaper stands in Cairo left with gaps on their shelves. One reader found a bright side to missing his usual morning read. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) PASSER-BY, WAHBA NASR, SAYING: "Honestly, I'm used to buying Al-Masry al-Youm, but today I didn't find it available. So the positive thing is that I saved a pound. Because what we see in the newspapers is the same thing we see on television - chaos. Today the country is in chaos." Meanwhile, security measures were increased outside of Egypt's presidential palace ahead of a planned demonstration by activists and opposition parties there. Mursi has been silent on opposition demands to cancel his decree and rethink the referendum vote. But the Muslim Brotherhood, which propelled Mursi to power, can rely on large-scale support among voters.