The decree last week by Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi to "temporarily" consolidate his power has deepened the breach between his supporters and opponents in Cairo's Tahrir Square, and sporadic clashes between police and demonstrators continued in the vicinity on Sunday.
The clashes occurred near Parliament and the Council of Ministers headquarters, and on adjacent Simon Bolivar Square, dozens of young men threw stones at security forces, who fired tear gas and beat demonstrators, injuring a number of people who were treated in tent hospitals set up on Tahrir Square.
Mursi's decree - issued last Thursday - has caused concern in the West and in Egyptian society because it exempts the president's decisions from judicial review until a new parliament can be elected early next year. It also protects the Islamist-dominated body writing the country's new constitution from the numerous legal challenges that have arisen and protects the upper house of parliament - also dominated by Islamists - in the same manner.
At least 297 people have been injured since last Friday in clashes around the country, according to the Egyptian Health Ministry. A 15-year-old boy was reportedly killed in one such clash in the northern Egyptian city of Damanhur.
In an attempt to calm the situation down, Mursi - a former militant with the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood - insisted on Sunday that his decree is temporary and not intended to cement his power, and he issued a call to the country's assorted political forces to reach consensus on the new constitution.
He also said in a communique that he was seeking to fulfill the aspirations of the Egyptian people, protect the country's democratic transition and preserve the impartiality of the judiciary. EFE