Cairo: Clashes broke out in Egypt on Friday between supporters and opponents of President Mohammed Morsi after he decided to give himself near-absolute powers that critics said were even more sweeping than ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak.
Thousands of people staged rival rallies across the polarized nation, protesting the move, while others supported, even as Morsi assured his supporters that the country was on a path of "freedom and democracy".
"I don't like, want or need to resort to exceptional measures, but I will if I see that my people, nation and the revolution of Egypt are in danger," Morsi, said, adding that the powers were necessary to root out "weevils eating away at the nation".
At least a 100 people were wounded in the clashes, according to officials, as security forces took to tear gas and batons to disperse the protesters who feared a new dictatorship and dubbed Morsi the 'new pharaoh'.
In the largest rally on Friday, thousands of chanting protesters packed Cairo's Tahrir Square, the heart of the 2011 revolution, demanding Mohamed Morsi quit and accusing him of launching a "coup", Al Jazeera reported.