Supporters of Morsi rally in Cairo for Egyptian president
Islamist backers of Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi are holding mass rallies to support his sweeping new powers and the drafting of a constitution.
The demonstrations in Cairo come after days of rival protests by supporters and opponents of the president.
His opponents are angry that the draft constitution was hastily passed by an Islamist-dominated assembly on Friday.
The assembly acted before Egypt’s top court could meet to rule on whether the body of MPs should be dissolved.
Senior judges have been in a stand-off with the president since he granted himself sweeping new powers last week.
Thousands of supporters of Mr Morsi, carrying flags and portraits of the president, gathered outside Cairo university on Saturday.
“The people support the president’s decision!” they chanted, while a banner read: “The people want the implementation of God’s law.”
Riot police stood by, with roadblocks erected to contain crowds.
The decree also states that the courts cannot dissolve the constituent assembly.
Mr Morsi says he will give up his extraordinary powers once the new constitution is approved by a referendum.
On Saturday afternoon members of the constituent assembly are scheduled to hand him the draft of the constitution they quickly adopted on Friday.
The president is then expected to ratify the draft and schedule a referendum.
The BBC’s Jon Leyne in Cairo says Mr Morsi may announce the referendum on Saturday and hold it in as little as two weeks’ time.
Our correspondent says the key question will be whether the opposition can mobilise its support and get it to the ballot boxes to vote in the referendum.
On Friday, tens of thousands of people opposed to the president rallied in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.
Demonstrators chanted slogans, including “The people want the fall of the regime!” – one of the rallying cries against former President Hosni Mubarak, who was toppled last year.
Crowds of Brotherhood supporters also gathered on Saturday in other Egyptian cities, including Alexandria in the Nile delta and Assiut in the south.