CAIRO Protesters stormed onto the grounds of the Egyptian presidential palace Tuesday in a dramatic escalation of the crisis over President Mohammed Morsi's decision to give himself absolute judicial power and set a quick referendum on a controversial new constitution.
Police made what appeared to be halfhearted efforts to confront the protesters, who commandeered a police vehicle as they approached the palace and painted graffiti on the palace walls. The inability, or unwillingness, of the police to keep Morsi opponents at bay raised questions about whether the nation's last remaining arbiter, the military, would intervene in the dispute, and if so, on whose side.
Demonstrations also erupted in other parts of the country. In Alexandria, Egypt's second largest city, protesters also stormed a presidential palace. In some areas, they vowed to stay the night.