Protests in the Egyptian capital Cairo has intensified over President Mohammad Mursi's latest decree of autocratic powers.

Opponents of Mursi's new decree which puts him above judiciary had set up tents in central Cairo and shouted slogans such as "Mursi is Mubarak" equating him with the former dictator Hosni Mubarak.

However, Mursi who defended his sweeping powers said the new decree was to lead the country in the path of "freedom and democracy".

Tens of thousands of protesters belonging to over 30 groups have arrived at the historic Tahrir Square for demonstrations. While many of the activists headed back home, some stayed back at erected tents to carry on with the sit-in protests.

The activists demanded a rollback of Mursi's latest decree and also the dissolution of the constituent assembly.

According to Mursi's new constitutional declaration, president's decisions cannot be revoked or challenged by the judiciary. The opposition activists said the move was a "coup against the legitimacy and judiciary," adding that Mursi is the "new pharaoh."

Meanwhile, clashes erupted in Tahrir Square between the police and the activists. While the protesters hurled petrol bombs at the police, authorities used tear gas to bring down the skirmishes.

Angry protesters shouted slogans such as "Down with the Brotherhood's Supreme Guide," "Do not be afraid, Mursi has to leave," "The people want to topple the regime."

Some offices of the Muslim Brotherhood, the party which Mursi belongs to, were also set on fire.

Reports suggest the party workers resorted to fire shots to disperse the crowd. Brotherhood strongly stood behind its president saying: "Those calling for the downfall of President Mohamed Mursi have rejected democracy because President Mursi has been democratically elected by popular will," adding that the intention of the decree is to save the revolution and the revolutionaries.

Meanwhile, judges in the country are planning to hold talks on 24 November over the latest decree which threatens their freedom. If the group of judges decides to go on a strike, it will bring the judiciary in the country to a standstill.

Protesters gather at Tahrir square in CairoReuters
Protesters gather at Tahrir square in CairoReuters
Demonstrators set fire during clashes at Tahrir Square in CairoReuters
Protesters chant slogans against Egyptian President Mursi during a demonstration at Tahrir square in CairoReuters
Flames burn around a police vehicle after protesters threw a molotov cocktail at it during clashes at Tahrir square in CairoReuters
Protesters carry an injured fellow protester during clashes with the police at Tahrir square in CairoReuters
Egypt's President Mohamed Mursi speaks to supporters in front of the presidential palace in CairoReuters
Supporters of Egypt's President Mursi sit on electric poles as they watch him speak in front of the presidential palace in CairoReuters
Protesters chant slogans against Egyptian President Mursi during a demonstration at Tahrir square in CairoReuters
Protesters pray as they gather at Tahrir square in CairoReuters
Protesters chant slogans against Egyptian President Mursi during a demonstration at Tahrir square in CairoReuters
A protester carries an injured fellow protester during clashes with the police at Tahrir square in CairoReuters
Protesters carry an effigy during a demonstration at Tahrir square in CairoReuters
Protesters throw stones at police during clashes at Tahrir square in CairoReuters
Protesters run from tear gas released by riot police during clashes at Tahrir square in CairoReuters