Morsi Increasingly Isolated in Tumultuous Egypt

Shedding allies and protected by tanks


CAIRO—With tanks guarding his palace and officials defecting from his government, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi appeared besieged Thursday in a nation divided by deadly protests and an escalating political crisis he started two weeks ago when he seized near-absolute power.

For the first time since they retreated to the barracks in August, soldiers from the Republican Guard strung barbed wire and parked tanks outside Morsi's office. The president's credibility has been further damaged by the resignations of six senior advisors and three other officials.

Six people died and more than 600 were injured in clashes that began Wednesday between Islamist supporters of Morsi and protesters from mainly secular opposition movements. Protesters are demanding Morsi curtail his authority and cancel a Dec. 15 national referendum on a much-criticized proposed constitution drafted by an Islamist-dominated assembly.