An Egyptian protester holds up a battle of oil and a bag of sugar as he protests outside the presidential palace under a banner that reads "the people want to bring down the regime."(Photo: Hassan Ammar, AP)
CAIRO (AP) - A sit-in by opponents of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi's continues around the presidential palace in Cairo today.
Soldiers have sealed off the palace with tanks and barbed wire, and Egypt's military leaders are wading into the political crisis after protests turned violent this week.
The turmoil began last month after Morsi granted himself authority free of judicial oversight and his Islamist allies rushed together a draft constitution. The move touched off street clashes between the president's supporters and protesters accusing him of becoming a new strongman. At least six civilians have been killed and several offices of the president's Muslim Brotherhood torched in the unrest.
In a statement today, the military warns of "disastrous consequences" if the crisis is not resolved and saying dialogue is the "best and only" way to overcome the conflict. The military says it will not allow the country to fall into "a dark tunnel" of violence.
Morsi too has called for a dialogue, but the main opposition leaders declined to attend a proposed session today. They say talks can only take place if Morsi rescinds his decrees and cancels the Dec. 15 referendum on the constitution.