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Egypt's Brotherhood defends Mursi amid clashes

Clashes outside Cairo's Tahrir Square continue, as opponents of President Mohamed Mursi rally for a day of mass action. They're stepping up calls to scrap a decree Mursi made last Thursday, granting himself sweeping new powers and leaving him immune from judicial review. The decree, protesters say, threatens Egypt with a new era of autocracy, deeply dividing newly empowered Islamists and their opponents and triggering a rebellion by judges. A Muslim Brotherhood activist has been killed and hundreds more injured in violence set off by the move, and battered confidence in an economy struggling to recover from almost two years of turmoil. But a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood has rejected accusations that Mursi has become a dictator. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DEPUTY HEAD OF FREEDOM AND JUSTICE PARTY, ESSAM AL ARIAN, SAYING: "Egypt cannot go backwards. Egypt is slow but sure steps forward. And now we are about to have a new constitution, a new parliament and to build the institutions of this country. No dictatorship can be built in Egypt at all, no tyrant can be born in Egypt at all." The constitutional declaration, he said, was only a temporary matter to move the country forwards.

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