Egyptian President Muhammad Mursi gave a defiant speech on 6 December refusing to bow to key demands from the liberal/secular opposition. He failed to either annul his constitutional declaration of 22 November, which gave him overarching powers, or to delay/cancel the referendum on the proposed Islamist-tinged constitution, due to take place on 15 December.

Mr Mursi’s defiance came after a week of intense protest that ended in bloodshed. Repeated protests took place not only in Tahrir square (liberals/secularists) but at Cairo University and the Supreme Constitutional Court (Islamists), and outside the presidential palace (both). Protests outside the palace by liberals on 4 December night forced the president to flee, prompting his supporters to turn out in force the following evening. Clashes between the two groups of supporters on the evening of 5 December resulted in five deaths and hundreds of injured. (CONTINUED - 290 WORDS)