UPDATE 1-Egypt protesters clash with police near presidential palace

Tue Dec 4, 2012 12:01pm EST

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CAIRO Dec 4 (Reuters) - Egyptian riot police fired teargas at protesters demonstrating against President Mohamed Mursi near the presidential palace in Cairo on Tuesday and demonstrators broke through police lines, Reuters witnesses said.

Several thousand protesters had gathered near the walls of the palace in what they called "last warning" protests against Islamist leader Mursi, who angered opponents with a Nov. 22 decree that expanded his powers.

"The people want the downfall of the regime," chanted some demonstrators.

Eight protesters were injured in the clashes, a security source said. Some activists attacked a police armoured vehicle, beating its driver, as security forces gathered inside the palace.

Liberals, leftists, Christians and others have accused Mursi of staging a dictatorial power grab to push through a constitution drafted by an assembly packed with Islamists. A referendum on the draft constitution is due to take place on Dec. 15.

"We are here to tell the president we are against dictatorship and ask him to cancel the dictator decree and reform the constitutional assembly to make it more representative," said protester Ihab Shawki.

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