By Yasmine Saleh
CAIRO | Thu Dec 6, 2012 12:34pm EST
(Reuters) – Egypt’s Republican Guard restored order around the presidential palace on Thursday after fierce clashes killed seven people, but passions ran high in a contest over the country’s future.
President Mohamed Mursi had been due to address the nation, but a presidential source said the Islamist leader, criticized by his opponents for his silence in the last few days, might speak on Friday instead. He did not explain the possible delay.
Hundreds of Mursi supporters who had camped out near the palace overnight withdrew before a mid-afternoon deadline set by the Republican Guard, an elite unit whose duties include protecting the palace. Scores of opposition protesters remained, but were kept away by a barbed wire barricade guarded by tanks.