CAIRO (AP) -- Tens of thousands of Egyptians massed in Cairo Tuesday for a march to the presidential palace to protest the assumption by the nation's Islamist president of nearly unrestricted powers and a draft constitution hurriedly adopted by his allies.

In the coastal city of Alexandria, some 10,000 opponents of President Mohammed Morsi gathered in the center of the country's second largest metropolis. They chanted slogans against the Egyptian leader and his Muslim Brotherhood.

The marches come amid rising anger over the draft charter and decrees issued by Mohammed Morsi giving himself sweeping powers. Morsi called for a nationwide referendum on the draft constitution on Dec. 15.

It is Egypt's worst political crisis since the ouster nearly two years ago of authoritarian president Hosni Mubarak. The country has been divided into two camps: Morsi and his fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood, as well as ultraconservative Salafi Islamists, versus youth groups, liberal parties and large sectors of the public.

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