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Morsi gives police powers to army

10 December 2012, 13:06

Cairo - President Mohamed Morsi has given Egypt's army powers of arrest and ordered it to "co-operate" with police until the results of a referendum this weekend, according to a decree obtained by AFP on Monday.

The decree, which appeared in the government's official gazette under "Law 107", was issued ahead of rival mass protests on Tuesday called by pro- and anti-Morsi camps over the disputed referendum.

"The armed forces must support the police service in complete co-operation in order to preserve security and protect vital state institutions for a temporary period, up to the announce of the results from the referendum on the constitution," the decree says.

It follows weeks of protests and violent street clashes that have left seven people dead and hundreds injured.

The military, which ruled Egypt between the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011 and the election of Morsi in June this year, has sought to remain neutral in the political crisis.

It has urged both sides to hold dialogue and warned it "will not allow" the situation to deteriorate.

Army tanks and troops have since Thursday deployed around Morsi's presidential palace but they have not confronted thousands of protesters who have gathered there every night.



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