Returns to Presidential Palace After Protests Against His Regime Turn Violent in Cairo

Cairo — Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has returned to the presidential palace after a violent protest of over 100,000 people the night before had forced him to leave the building.

In a brief outburst, police fired tear gas to stop protesters approaching the palace in the capital’s Heliopolis district. Morsi was in the palace conducting business as usual while the protesters gathered outside. But he left for home through a back door when the crowds “grew bigger,” according to a presidential official.

The official said Morsi left on the advice of security officials at the palace and to head off “possible dangers” and to calm protesters. Morsi’s spokesman, however, said the president left the palace at the end of his work schedule through the door he routinely uses.

A presidential source said Morsi was back at work in the palace, even though up to 200 demonstrators angered by his drive to push through a new constitution were still blocking one gate of the presidential palace.

The rest of the Egyptian capital was calm, despite the political furor over Morsi’s November 22 decree handing himself wide powers and shielding his decisions from judicial oversight.