Tens of thousands of pro-democracy Egyptians clashed with police in Tahrir Square today after President Mohammed decreed himself a raft of wide-ranging powers.
Muslim Brotherhood offices were set alight in Suez, Port Said and Ismailia while clashes were reported between Morsi supporters and opponents in Alexandria, Assiut and Giza.
The president placed himself above the judiciary in a Thursday decree, placing his actions beyond legal challenge.
The decree exempted the Islamist-dominated constituent assembly from any form of judicial review.
Mr Morsi claims those and other articles are designed to protect the revolution against ousted leader Hosni Mubarak.
But rights groups say these are merely new emergency laws.
The president has apparently seized on the international praise for mediating a Gaza ceasefire to take on a level of power that not even his predecessor attempted.
One decree gives Mr Morsi the power to take "due measures and steps" to deal with any "threat" to the revolution, national unity and safety or anything that obstructs the work of state institutions.
Opposition politicians immediately criticised the decrees as dictatorial and destined to divide a nation already reeling from months of turmoil.
"Morsi today usurped all state powers and appointed himself Egypt's new pharaoh," said opposition politician Mohamed ElBaradei.
"A major blow to the revolution that could have dire consequences."
Mr ElBaradei and a troop of other non-Brotherhood politicians - including failed presidential candidates Amr Moussa and Hamdeen Sabahi - have pledged to work together to stop the power-grab.
"We will work together as Egyptians until we achieve the goals of our revolution," said Mr ElBaradei, a former director of the UN nuclear agency and Nobel peace laureate.
Mr Morsi's Coptic Christian aide Samer Marqous resigned in protest at the "undemocratic" decree.
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