CAIRO (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of Egyptians rallied on Tuesday against President Mohamed Mursi in one of the biggest outpourings of protest since Hosni Mubarak's overthrow, accusing the Islamist leader of seeking to impose a new era of autocracy.
Police fired tear gas at stone-throwing youths in streets near the main protest in Cairo's Tahrir Square, heart of the uprising that toppled Mubarak last year. Clashes between Mursi's opponents and supporters erupted in a city north of Cairo.
But violence could not overshadow the show of strength by the normally divided opponents of Islamists in power, posing Mursi with the biggest challenge in his five months in office.
"The people want to bring down the regime," protesters in Tahrir chanted, echoing slogans used in the 2011 revolt.
Protesters also turned out in Alexandria, Suez, Minya and other Nile Delta cities.
Tuesday's unrest by leftists, liberals and other groups deepened the worst crisis since the Muslim Brotherhood politician was elected in June, and exposed the deep divide between the newly empowered Islamists and their opponents.
A 52-year-old protester died after inhaling tear gas in Cairo, the second death since Mursi last week issued a decree that expanded his powers and barred court challenges to his decisions.
Mursi's administration has defended the decree as an effort to speed up reforms and complete a democratic transformation in the Arab world's most populous country.
"Calls for civil disobedience and strikes will be dealt with strictly by law and there is no retreat from the decree," Refa'a Al-Tahtawy, Mursi's presidential chief of staff, told the Al-Hayat private satellite channel.
What do Egypt's President Morsi & US President Obama have in common?Both want to grant themselves powers of a dictator. #goodtimes— Sky Goddess(@LLSKYGIRL) November 28, 2012