Egypt president-elect vows to fight for authority

CAIRO (AP) — President-elect Mohammed Morsi roused the masses in Tahrir Square on Friday, vowing to fight on behalf of the people and defying the ruling generals by reading a symbolic oath of office a day early at the site where Egypt’s revolution was born.

The country’s first Islamist president also made a pledge likely to complicate relations with the U.S., vowing to seek the release of blind sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, jailed in the U.S. for plotting to blow up New York City landmarks and assassinate then-President Hosni Mubarak.

“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.

The promise to seek the release of the Egyptian-born Abdel-Rahman reflected the populist tone of Morsi’s speech — his first in the square that was the epicenter of the popular uprising that ousted Mubarak.

Pointing to protesters holding photos of prisoners, including Abdel-Rahman, the spiritual leader of men convicted in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, Morsi declared: “I will make every effort, I will do it, starting tomorrow, to free them all, including Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman.”

“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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