Egypt's prosecutor general, Abdel-Maguid Mahmoud, refused to resign on Thursday, despite President Mohamed Morsi calling for his dismissal.

"I remain in my post," Mahmoud said, according to Al Jazeera. "According to the law, a judicial body cannot be dismissed by an executive authority."

Mahmoud said he would remain in his post in defiance of Morsi's orders, according to the Associated Press.

The AP said Morsi's order to dismiss Mahmoud exceeds his mandate, as the law protects the prosecutor general from being fired by the president.

Morsi's attempt to remove Mahmoud was to appease demonstrators who accused the prosecutor general of presenting weak evidence against officials from the regime of ousted President Hosni Mubarak, Reuters said.

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Morsi's dismissal came after a court acquitted 24 Mubarak loyalists of sending men on camels and horseback to attack protesters during the uprising that led to Mubarak's downfall.

Hundreds of protesters had gathered in Cairo earlier on Thursday to protest the acquittal of the officials, Al Jazeera said.

To avoid the legal hurdle preventing him from dismissing the prosecutor general, Morsi apparently appointed Mahmoud as the envoy to the Vatican, giving no official reason for the switch, the BBC noted.

Mahmoud was appointed in July 2006, said the BBC.

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