CAIRO, Egypt, November 28, 2012 - On Tuesday, November 27, 2012, hundreds of thousands of Egyptians rallied in Tahrir square to protest the autocratic decrees by President Mohamed Morsi last week. The protestors chanted, “Only the people can protect their revolution” and said in English, “To be or not to be.”
Last week, President Morsi announced six constitutional decrees which severely limited the power of the judiciary. Morsi’s announcement consisted of six articles, all of which severely limited the powers of the judiciary. Under the new declaration, Judges cannot dissolve any parliament. Other articles dismissed Prosecutor General Abdel Meguid Mahmoud, a hold-over from the era of former dictator Hosni Mubarak, called for a retrial of former members of the regime accused of killing protestors during the revolution; the judiciary had previously acquitted the defendants of the charges.
The most contentious decrees, however, declared that his presidential decisions were not subject to judicial oversight or review, which prompted the protests.
Many believe Morsi issued the declaration to avoid having the Court declare the body writing the new Constitution illegal. Judges are reviewing whether the current has the authority to write the Constitution, and there are signs that the Court will dissolve that body.
Over 150 judges, lawyers and prosecutors gathered in Cairo last Saturday in reaction to the presidential decree. They called for a strike by the judiciary to condemn President Morsi assault on the legislative and judicial system. The influential “Judges Club” vowed to escalate its resistance to the decree. Egypt MENA news agency said that Egypt judges, prosecutors continued their strikes for the third day. A private T.V. channel said that in several governorates, 100% of the judiciary participated in the strike.
The Muslim Brotherhood planned a rally to support Morsi at the Cairo University, but later cancelled it due to concerns about violence. However, they are now again calling for a demonstration of support this weekend.
Rallies spread from Cairo to almost all governorates in Egypt, Port Said Suez, and Alexandria. In several cities, protestors attacked Muslim Brotherhood headquarters. In Mehala, Morsi supporters and opponents clashed, leaving more than 22 injured.
Political analysts believe that the real dangers threatening the transitional period pushed Morsi to give himself Pharoah powers. Wael Qandil of Al Shorouk newspaper suggested that “the ideal solution would be to face reality and confront the dangers that threaten the country, which is dividing the nation, this will spread confidence among people.
For now, however, Egypt is again facing turmoil as it moves toward democracy.
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