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Islamist Mohammed Morsi sworn in as Egypt president

An image grab taken from Egypt's Nile TV shows Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi taking the oath of office during a swearing-in ceremony at the Constitutional Court in Cairo Saturday.
An image grab taken from Egypt's Nile TV shows Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi taking the oath of office during a swearing-in ceremony at the Constitutional Court in Cairo Saturday.AFP - Getty Images

Egypt's first Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi, took his oath of office on Saturday, ending six decades of rule by former military men although the generals in charge since Hosni Mubarak was ousted last year have already curbed his powers. 

Morsi was sworn in before the Supreme Constitutional Court, rather than parliament as is usual. The Islamist-led lower house was dissolved by the same court shortly before this month's run-off presidential election.  

"I swear by Almighty God that I will sincerely protect the republican system and that I respect the constitution and the rule of law," Morsi said, after making the same declaration a day earlier in front of tens of thousands of people in Tahrir Square. 

"I will look after the interests of the people and protect the independence of the nation and safety of its territory," he said before the head of the constitutional court Farouk Soltan and other judges. 

'The will of the people'
He was speaking in the court building next to the Cairo hospital where the jailed former president has been moved. 

Morsi said a civilian and constitutional state had been "born today," in his comments after swearing the oath. The ceremony was broadcast by state media. 

One of the judges, Maher Sami, began the ceremony by saying that event had "no parallel in all of Egypt's history and was created by the will of the people." 

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 On Friday, Morsi defied the ruling generals by reading a symbolic oath of office in Tahrir Square, where Egypt's revolution was born. 

"Everybody is hearing me now. The government ... the military and the police. ... No power above this power," he told the tens of thousands of mostly Islamist supporters packing the square. "I reaffirm to you I will not give up any of the president's authorities. I can't afford to do this. I don't have that right." 

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At one point, Morsi opened his jacket to show the crowd he was not wearing a bulletproof vest, then declared he "fears no one but God." 

"We love you Morsi!" the crowd roared in response as the 60-year-old U.S.-trained engineer left the podium to get closer to the cheering crowd. 

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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