Morsi faces uphill battle as rage brews on streets

Morsi faces uphill battle as rage brews on streets

Morsi faces uphill battle as rage brews on streets

EPA photo

Egypt yesterday plunged deeper into its worst political crisis since President Mohamed Morsi took office in June, with massive opposition rallies nationwide signaling a new “revolution” nearly two years after Hosni Mubarak was toppled. Members of the judiciary have also declared a strike in protest at Morsi’s recent constitutional decree.

Egypt’s Court of Cassation said yesterday that it would go on strike until Morsi rescinds the decree, heightening tensions between the Islamist leader and parts of the judiciary.

The court said it would “suspend all work until the constitutional declaration issued by Morsi on Nov. 22 is rescinded,” MENA news agency reported. “The Cassation Court will suspend its work starting today,” the court’s vice chairman, Abdel Nasser Abu al-Wafa, said.

Khaled Abdellah, a judge in the Appeals Court, said after a similar meeting that his court would also suspend its work “except in cases related to corruption and personal laws.”

The announcement came as police fired tear gas into Cairo’s Tahrir Square, where several hundred protesters had spent the night after a mass rally to denounce Morsi’s power grab.

Clashes that have been erupting on streets just off Tahrir near the U.S. embassy spilled into the square, with canisters falling into the crowd forcing protesters to run. Clashes also raged through the night between supporters and opponents of Morsi in Mahalla and Port Said. In Mahalla, 132 people were injured while 27 were hurt in Port Said.

The clashes were followed by a statement by the country’s Supreme Constitutional Court accusing Morsi of taking part in a campaign against the court. Morsi has angered much of the judiciary with a decree that extends his powers and puts his decisions beyond legal review. In a speech on Nov. 23, he praised the judiciary as a whole but said there were corrupt elements, which he would weed out.
The Constitutional Court declared the Islamist-led parliament void earlier this year, leading to the assembly’s dissolution.

“The court won’t be terrorized by threats or blackmail and will not submit to any pressure on it in any direction,” the court’s spokesman, Maher Samy.

Constitution to be voted

The text of controversial post-revolution Constitution was set to be completed later yesterday, the head of the drafting committee said. “The discussions over the draft of the constitution will be finished today,” Ahmed Darrag, the secretary general of the constituent assembly said.

Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists will rally on Dec. 1 to support Morsi, a Brotherhood official said. Mahmud Ghozlan said the rally would be held in Cairo. The main Salafi party, Al-Nur, has also announced “a million man march” o Dec. 1.

Compiled from AFP, AP and Reuters stories by the Daily News staff.