“We cannot stop the will of the people,” one officer told a McClatchy reporter, a line eerily similar to what some police officers had said during the anti-Mubarak protests.
Along with police shields, belts and other equipment, protesters nabbed a police truck and began driving it through the crowds. The Reuters news agency, citing unnamed sources, reported that Morsi left the premises as the truck made its way toward the palace, although it wasn’t clear why or where he was headed.
Protesters remained outside the fence that surrounds the palace and its grounds through the evening.
Until the palace protest, it had appeared that the crisis was easing and Morsi had the upper hand. Judges who’d gone on strike had announced that they’d return to work to oversee the referendum. Whether they’d return had been a crucial question that bedeviled plans for the vote on the constitution.
Even at the palace, protesters conceded that they were far less organized than the Brotherhood, which had honed its political rallying skills during over 84 years, during much of which time the group was illegal.
Opponents can’t agree on which politician should lead them: Hamdeen Sabahi, who came in third place in the first round of the presidential election; former Arab League Secretary-General Amr Mousa, who also ran for the presidency; or Mohamed ElBaradei, a former director of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
“Things are escalating to the point we want him to leave. We reject his legitimacy,” said Sandy Rashad, 45, who works in public relations. “I think things will escalate to civil disobedience. It worries everyone. This will go on for some time.”
The controversy was triggered last month, when Morsi issued a seven-point declaration that exempted his decrees from judicial oversight. His supporters said the declaration was necessary to prevent Mubarak appointees to the court from thwarting constitutional reform. But opponents called it a power grab and an attempt to circumvent rulings challenging the legality of the constitutional assembly.
The Supreme Constitutional Court on Sunday postponed a ruling on the issue indefinitely.