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New protests in Tahrir Square as Egypt's Morsi grants himself broad powers

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Morsi's supporters, in turn, say he has faced constant push-back from Mubarak loyalists and from the courts, where loyalists have a strong presence. The courts have been considering a string of lawsuits demanding the dissolution of the Islamist-dominated assembly writing the next constitution. The courts already dissolved a previous version of the assembly and the Brotherhood-led lower house of parliament.

Morsi made his move Thursday, at a time when he was bolstered by U.S. and international praise over his mediating of a cease-fire ending a week of battles between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. Only a day earlier, Morsi had met with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton just before the truce was announced.

Mustafa Kamel el-Sayyed, a Cairo University political science professor, said Morsi may be confident that the U.S. won't pressure him on his domestic moves. "The U.S. administration is happy to work with an Islamist government (that acts) in accordance with U.S. interests in the region, one of which is definitely the maintaining of the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel" and protecting Israel's security.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Friday that Morsi's declarations "raise concern for many Egyptians and for the international community."

The U.S. calls for Egyptians to "resolve their differences over these important issues peacefully and through democratic dialogue," she said.

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