Morsi: I want Egyptian constitution before giving up powers
In better times: Flanked by bodyguards, Morsi saluted tens of thousands of Egyptians Tahrir Square on June 29, 2012, when he symbolically swore himself in as the country's first elected civilian president. (AFP PHOTO/MOHAMMED HOSSAM)
Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi, has said in an interview with Time magazine, published on Thursday, that he intends to give up his new powers once a national constitution is written.
Morsi equated the recent violence in his country with "symbols of the previous regime" and dismissed the idea that he was the new "Pharaoh" of Egypt saying he had personally suffered over recent events.
After his announcement a week ago that he would grant himself new powers, the president has faced mass protests across the country.
On Tuesday, IkwanWeb, the official media arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, estimated that there were between 200,000 and 300,000 demonstrators in and around Tahrir Square in the capital. Protestors called for the overthrow of the regime and opposition figure, Mohamed ElBaradei, was cheered on his arrival to the square.
Egypt's highest appeal court is still on strike after Morsi's decree put the president's decisions beyond judicial scrutiny.
However, the president dismissed criticism of his power grab, saying Egypt was in a "transitional period" of democracy and that he was encouraged to see signs of opposition.
"We're learning. We're learning how to be free. We haven't seen this before. We're learning how to debate. How to differ. How to be majority and minority," he said.
The Muslim Brotherhood have called for their own pro-government protest on Saturday.