CAIRO - Egypt's opposition called for mass protests on Tuesday against the Islamist-led government's drive to hold a snap referendum on a new constitution after sweeping aside judicial obstacles.
President Mohamed Morsi ignited a storm of protest when he temporarily assumed extraordinary powers on Nov. 22 to prevent a judiciary still dominated by appointees of ousted predecessor Hosni Mubarak from derailing a troubled political transition.
Riot police mustered around the presidential palace after activists said they would march towards it later in the day in a "last warning" to Morsi, an Islamist narrowly elected by popular vote in June.
A few hundred protesters gathered near his house in a suburb west of Cairo, chanting slogans against his decree and against the Muslim Brotherhood. Police closed the road to stop them from coming any closer, a security official said.
Liberals, leftists, Christians and others have accused Morsi of staging a dictatorial power grab to steamroller through a constitution drafted by an assembly packed with Islamists.