Protesters defy army order to clear out

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Egyptian army armored vehicle deployed on street during anti-government protests, Cairo, Egypt. (AP Photo)

Egyptian army armored vehicle deployed on street during anti-government protests, Cairo, Egypt. (AP Photo)

CAIRO (AP) – Protesters in Egypt are defying an army order to leave the area around the presidential palace.

After a night of deadly clashes between critics and backers of President Mohammed Morsi, the army sealed off the palace with barbed wire and armored vehicles and set a deadline for protesters to clear the area. But hours after the deadline passed, a group of anti-Morsi demonstrators remained, chanting slogans against the president.

Members of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists supporting Morsi withdrew from the area after a sit-in.

Inside the palace gates, Morsi met with members of his Cabinet and military leaders to discuss the expanding crisis.

Five people were killed and more than 600 injured overnight as Morsi’s Islamist backers and largely secular protesters lobbed rocks and firebombs and each other in an upscale Cairo suburb. It was the worst outbreak of violence between the two sides since Morsi was elected in June.

Many activists who once supported Morsi have jumped to the opposition after he issued decrees granting himself almost absolute power, and his allies pushed through a draft constitution amid a walkout by Christian and liberal factions.

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