Tanks in Cairo
Tanks in CairoReuters

Egyptian security forces deployed at least five tanks outside the presidential palace in a street where supporters and opponents of President Mohamed Morsi had been clashing into the early hours of the morning, witnesses told Al Jazeera Thursday.

"The Republican Guard began a deployment around the headquarters of the presidency ... to secure the headquarters of the presidency in its capacity as a symbol of the state and the official headquarters of government," the Egyptian state news agency reported.

Nine armored personnel carriers were also reported to be on the street outside the palace. Five people have been killed and 446 injured in deadly clashes between pro- and anti-Morsi demonstrators outside the palace that began Wednesday, the Egyptian health ministry said Thursday. At least 35 police officers are among the injured, the state-run MENA news agency reported.

The state news agency also quoted General Mohammed Zaki, head of the Republican Guard, as saying that "the armed forces, and the Republican Guard, will not be an instrument of oppression against protesters."