CAIRO -- Egyptian protesters and police are clashing in Cairo just hours ahead of a planned massive rally by opponents of the country’s Islamist president demanding he rescinds decrees that granted him near-absolute powers.
Tuesday’s clashes are taking place near the U.S. Embassy and the Egyptian capital’s Tahrir Square — birthplace of the uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak’s regime nearly two years ago.
Police are firing tear gas after hundreds of protesters pelted them with rocks in a street leading off the square toward the embassy.
The protesters have been staging a sit-in at the square since Friday night to demand President Mohammed Morsi revoke his autocratic decrees.
Morsi, in power since June, says the decrees are necessary to protect the “revolution” and the nation’s transition to democratic rule.
CBS News correspondent Holly Williams reports from Cairo that rally organizers are hoping for a big turnout but probably won’t get it.
One of the organizers told CBS News that they’re expecting half a million people at Tuesday’s rally, which seems extremely ambitious, Williams reports. During the last several days, only very small protests have been held, ranging between 1,000 and 2,000 at the most.