Thousands of Egyptians rushed the presidential palace in Cairo Friday over President Mohammad Morsi's proposed constitution, ignoring the tanks and barbed wire, as well as Morsi's requests for dialogue in a speech Thursday. Friday's protests, which were largely peaceful, may have worked.
Following the demonstrations, which drew tens of thousands of protestors across the country, Egyptian Vice President Mahmoud Mekky announced on private Egyptian television that Morsi would consider postponing the vote on the drafted constitution, one of the opposition's chief objectives, Reuters reports.
The announcement is at odds with a nationally-televised speech Morsi delivered Thursday, in which he asked for "comprehensive and productive" dialogue, but defiantly stood by his plans for the constitutional referendum, which has sparked violent clashes and split the country.
In response to his speech, an estimated 10,000 opposition protesters marched on the palace, toppling security barricades and chanting "Leave, leave" and "Topple the regime!"
Elsewhere in Cairo, thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters amassed Friday to mourn the deaths of six Morsi supporters killed in similar clashes Wednesday, in which more than 700 people were wounded.
Egypt is embroiled in controversy over how Morsi and his party, the conservative Muslim Brotherhood, are handling the transition to democracy following the Arab Spring. The newly-elected Morsi recently declared his decisions above judicial review and as of Thursday, continued to push for a country-wide vote on a new constitution on Dec. 15. Critics claim the constitution's new laws would restrict religious practices and speech.
President Barack Obama called Morsi Thursday expressing "deep concern about the deaths and injuries" caused by the protests, according to a statement released by the White House.
"(President Obama) welcomed President Morsi's call for a dialogue with the opposition, but stressed that such a dialogue should occur without preconditions," the statement read. "The president noted that the United States has also urged opposition leaders to join in this dialogue without preconditions."
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Seth Cline is a reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow him on Twitter or reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.