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Muslim Brotherhood Member Dies In Egypt Clashes

It was the first death reported in unrest since Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi, a former Muslim Brotherhood leader, issued a constitutional declaration granting himself powers to hand down decisions and laws that cannot be challenged in court.
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood has confirmed that one of its members has been killed in clashes with opponents of President Muhammad Morsi.

The violence, which also left dozens injured, occurred on November 25 outside one of the Brotherhood's offices in the Nile Delta town of Damanhour.

Reports say a 15-year-old Muslim Brotherhood member was killed in clashes that broke out after protesters attacked the office.

It was the first death reported in unrest since Morsi, a former Muslim Brotherhood leader, on November 22 issued a constitutional declaration granting himself powers to hand down decisions and laws that cannot be challenged in courts.

The decree also prevents courts from dissolving a constituent assembly, dominated by Islamists, which is writing a new constitution.

Pro-reform supporters have accused the president of assuming dictatorial powers and threatening the survival of nascent steps toward democracy.

Morsi on November 26 was due to meet with top judges who have called on Morsi to roll back his decree.

In what appeared to be a softening of its position, the Supreme Judicial Council said Morsi’s decree should apply only to “sovereign matters,” such as foreign affairs and national security, but should otherwise be rescinded.

Opposition Criticism

The council also told judges and prosecutors who had gone on strike over the decree to return to work

Morsi’s office stressed the president’s position that the measures are only temporary and are intended to be lifted after a new parliament is elected. No elections are expected before next spring, at the earliest.

The presidential office said Morsi wanted to pursue a dialogue with political groups to find “common ground" on the way forward.

But some opposition leaders, including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Muhammad ElBaradei, have already said no dialogue is possible until the decree is revoked.

ElBaradei has suggested the opposition may have to intensify a campaign of peaceful civil disobedience.

Hundreds of people have been reported injured in clashes between protesters and police since the decree was announced.

Egypt’s stock market fell by nearly 10 percent on November 25, on the first day of trading since Morsi issued the decree.

In a move to counter demonstrations by pro-reform protesters, supporters of Morsi held a series of marches in cities across the country late on November 25 to voice their approval of the president.

In Tahrir Square in central Cairo, pro-reform activists continued for a third day a sit-in in protest of the presidential decree.

Both the opposition and the Muslim Brotherhood have called for mass rallies on November 27.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, and dpa
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