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— Thousands of protesters denouncing Egypt’s Islamist president marched on his palace in Cairo on Friday, clashing with security forces firing tear gas and water cannons in the eighth day of the country’s wave of political violence.

Protests were held in cities around the country Friday after a call for rallies by opponents of President Mohammed Morsi. But some cracks appeared in the ranks of the opposition as some sharply criticized its political leaders for holding their first meeting with the rival Muslim Brotherhood a day earlier.

About 60 people have been killed in protests, rioting and clashes that engulfed the country the past week in country’s worst crisis since the 2011 fall of autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

About 6,000 protesters massed outside Morsi’s presidential palace in an upscale district of the capital, banging on the gates and throwing stones and shoes into the grounds in a show of contempt. At least one firebomb was thrown through the gates as crowds chanted, “Leave, leave,” addressing Morsi.

Security forces inside the palace responded by firing water cannons at the crowd, then volleys of tear gas. A tree inside the palace grounds caught fire. Riot police moved in outside the gates, sending the protesters scattering for cover, but then they surged back.

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