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Friday protests in Tahrir Square

ROUGH CUT ONLY - NO REPORTER NARRATION Thousands of protesters gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday to express their opposition to a draft constitution they say is being imposed on Egypt by the country's Islamist President, Mohamed Mursi. On Thursday night, an Islamist-led assembly raced through approval of the new document to end a crisis over Mursi's newly-expanded powers. In an interview broadcast on state television on Thursday, Mursi said a controversial decree halting court challenges to his decisions, which sparked eight days of protests and violence by Egyptians calling him a new dictator, was "for an exceptional stage", aimed at speeding up the democratic transition. He said the decree would expire as soon as the constitution was approved in a referendum. But the opposition has cried foul. Liberals, leftists, Christians, more moderate Muslims and others had withdrawn from the assembly, saying their voices were not being heard.

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