Protests are continuing in Egypt following a speech by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi aimed at quelling widespread anger over his assertion of wide-ranging powers and his ongoing push for a referendum on a new constitution. In a national address Thursday night, Morsi offered to sit down with the opposition following violent clashes that left seven people dead and hundreds wounded.
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi: “I call for a full, productive dialogue with all figures and heads of parties, revolutionary youth and senior legal figures to meet this Saturday, December 8, 2012, at 12:30 at the presidential palace in order to reach an agreement that unites the nation, with which we can all exit the constraints of division and conflict and enter into the ease of agreement, if not full consensus.”
Despite offering to engage in dialogue, Morsi refused to cancel his plans for a referendum, saying Egyptian voters will decide the constitution’s fate. Critics have opposed the referendum and say the proposed constitution was drafted without a proper representation of Egyptian society. In response, protesters flooded Cairo’s Tahrir Square to call for Morsi’s departure. Morsi’s speech came hours after opponents attacked the offices of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood party and set its headquarters on fire.