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Monday, November 26, 2012

Nationwide protests against Mohamed Morsy’s Constitutional Declaration continue in Egypt

Protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square

Massive protests with clashes continue in Egypt as a reaction on the recently issued Presidential Constitutional Declaration which gives Mohamed Morsy almost unlimited powers.

After being praised internationally for the great mediation role in the Gaza-Israeli conflict and helping to achieve the ceasefire, Mohamed Morsy issued on Thursday the controversial and surprising decree. According to this Declaration President became actually above the law as all his decrees, laws and orders are final and cannot be challenged by any authority, even judiciary. In addition to that Mr. Morsi sacked the current Prosecutor General appointing the new one and also gave immunity from the dissolution to the Shura Council (upper house of Egypt’s Parliament) and Islamist dominated Constituent Assembly. Both of the state’s bodies were under the threat of dissolution due to the court verdict.

This Declaration caused deep concerns and worries among many political figures and powers; especially among liberals and secularists as such a move was considered being an attempt to usurp all the state powers and to actually impose the new dictatorship in the country. Mohamed Morsy was even called “the new Pharaoh” for this move.

International community warned Egypt’s President about such an undemocratic move expressing the deepest concerns with the state of affairs in Egypt and with the violations of human rights and freedoms. USA, EU and several countries and international organizations have already condemned the controversial move of Morsy.

CSF trying to disperse the protesters
After issuing the decree tens of thousands Egyptians headed to Cairo’s Tahrir Square and to the main squares of other Egyptian cities to protest against the recent Constitutional Declaration. The massive protests are happening till now, with the thousands of demonstrators chanting against Mohamed Morsy and his decision and also against Muslim Brotherhood which actually almost seized the power in the country. The people are chanting “Down with the Muslim Brotherhood ruling” and also demand the government headed by Hisham Qandeel and formed by President Mohamed Morsy to leave the office.

The demonstrations turned into the violent clashes in Cairo and in other Egyptian cities, as the protesters clashed with the police and Security Forces. Both sides have been throwing the stones at each other, the CSF are also using the bird shots and tear gas to disperse the crowds. There were also the reports about using of the live ammunition by the security forces. Some of the protesters have been throwing the Molotov cocktails; a few buildings in Mohamed Mahmoud Street were reportedly set ablaze. Egyptian Ministry of Health reports about hundreds of injuries, there were also lethal cases. Thus, the reports came recently that one of the Muslim Brotherhood’s members, 15-years old student, was killed during the clashes happening in Damanhur.

Police using tear gas against the protesters
The strong anti-Brotherhood moods are evident in the protests, during the days of nationwide demonstrations several offices and headquarters of Muslim Brotherhood and its political wing FJP were attacked in different Egyptian cities.

It’s worth mentioning that several members of Morsy’s advisory team have resigned due to the situation in the country and the Constitutional Declaration which violates the law. Egyptian Judges have held an emergency meeting yesterday to discuss the recent events and the President’s decree. They strongly condemned this move and rejected to accept the sacking of the Prosecutor General. There were also some reports that Egypt’s High Constitutional Court may issue a verdict to impeach the President.

More than 30 different political parties, powers and organizations are participating in the anti-Brotherhood’s and anti-Morsy’s rallies nationwide, the prominent liberal political leaders, such as Mohamed ElBaradei, Hamdeen Sabbahy and others declared they will participate in the sit-in until the Declaration issued by Morsy won’t be cancelled.

Mohamed ElBaradei, Egyptian prominent liberal leader
The massive rally is scheduled for this Tuesday, in attempt to protest the Constitutional Declaration of Morsy and his trying to seize the power. Muslim Brotherhood, in its turn, has also called for the marches to support the decision of Mohamed Morsy. Thus, the pro-Morsy rally has been held on Sunday and the big demonstrations are also planned for Tuesday. But today the details and also the location of the planned rally have been changed, and the demonstration was relocated far from the previously planned place which is very close to Tahrir Square. According to the statement of the MB’s spokesperson such a decision was taken to avoid the possible clashes between the protesters.

Meanwhile, some of the prominent members of Muslim Brotherhood have been also criticizing the Constitutional Declaration issued by Mohamed Morsy and the current situation. Mohamed Abdel-Qodous (prominent journalist and MB member) and Ahmed Fahly, chairman of Shura Council, were among those criticizing the decision taken by Morsy.

Hamdeen Sabbahy, former presidential candidate,
liberal leader
Egypt’s Press Syndicate has also protested against the presidential decree as this decision considers being a threat to the freedoms and rights in Egypt and for democratic goals of Revolution. Egyptian journalists announced they will hold the strike to protest this decision.
Mohamed Morsy in his turn has been holding an emergency meeting with his aides and assistants to discuss the current situation in Egypt, and his statement is expected to be issued soon.

It’s also worth mentioning that according to the latest statements of the official representatives of the IMF team the $ 4.8 billion loan could be suspended due to the instability and tense political situation in the country. Egyptian officials though deny such the reports.

In addition to that UN has announced before that they will also suspend the financial assistance to Egyptian government due to the situation in the country which is unacceptable.

Meanwhile the clashes in the Egyptian cities continue now and the protesters face the violent respond from the security forces. According to the latest reports the soldiers were erecting the concrete walls near Tahrir Square. The numbers of injured people are increasing, there are also a lot of teenagers and even kids among the protesters, say the reporters.
Amr Moussa, former presidentail candidate

As for the oppositional forces, the prominent Egyptian liberal politicians, Hamdeen Sabbahy, Mohamed ElBaradei, Amr Moussa and other, issued a National Front to fight the decrees of Morsy. The National Front united under its roots several liberal and secular political parties and organizations in attempt to fight the decisions of Morsy and protect the democracy and revolutionary goals. The group has announced its representatives refuse to hold any negotiations with Mohamed Morsy and with his aides and representatives as well until the controversial Declaration will not be cancelled.

The National Front includes Constitution Party, Social Democratic Party, Egyptian Popular Current, Socialist Popular Alliance Party and many other powers.

Mohamed Morsy, Egypt's President
The Islamist political forces though supported the decree issued by Morsy as a legal attempt to achieve the stability in the country. Morsy’s spokesperson Yasser Ali also stressed this decision aims to protect the goals of revolution and doesn’t mean any expanding of the President’s powers as this Constitutional Decree is temporarily and will be in power until the new Constitution will be approved and the new Parliament will be elected.