Tanks Deployed to Cairo after Mass Anti-Morsi Protests

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- The Egyptian army deployed tanks outside the presidential palace in Cairo on Thursday.

The deployment came after clashes between supporters and opponents of President Mohammed Morsi claimed five lives.

The fighting centers on the sweeping new powers he gave to himself and a proposed constitution that will greatly expand Islamic Sharia law throughout Egypt.

The street violence pits Morsi's supporters and the Muslim Brotherhood against many of the country's youth and liberal groups. Hundreds have been wounded in the fighting.

Opposition leaders formed a group called the National Salvation Front.

"We're going to continue protesting in every possible way, including a general strike, until we regain our rights and our freedom, and we correct the course of the revolution," Mohamed ElBaradei, Nobel Peace laureate and member of the National Salvation Front, said.

"The regime, in my opinion and the opinion of many of us here, is losing its legitimacy day after day," he said.

The BBC reported that Morsi may soon address the nation. On Wednesday, three more of his advisers resigned in protest. Muslim Brotherhood leaders are calling for a dialogue, but the opposition said certain conditions must be met first.

"We are ready for a serious dialogue on the specific basis that he first cancel the constitutional declaration and then seriously deal with the role of the people and their right to discuss and influence the constitution," Amr Moussa, former Arab League chief and member of the National Salvation Front, said.

A national vote on the proposed constitution is scheduled for Dec.15. Opposition leaders might decide to either campaign against the referendum or call for a boycott.

Egyptian analyst Samuel Tadros, with the Freedom House, wrote that the proposed constitution would be disastrous for Christians. He noted Article 212, a new provision that would create a body to oversee all endowments.

"This article affects Christian religious endowments, too," Tadros said. "It places Church finances under the Islamists' control, which … has been part of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party's political program. By taking control of the Church's finances, the Islamists aim to control the institution and, in turn, use it to control Christians."

In the midst of this national crisis, many Egyptian Christians are asking for prayer from Christians around the world.

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