Thousands protest constitutional decree in Tahrir Square, Egypt

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

File image of protests in Tahrir Square in 2011.
Image: Lilian Wagdy.

An estimated over 100,000 people protested in Tahrir Square yesterday in opposition to a constitutional decree made by Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi. Riot police dispersed the crowd with tear gas as clashes began. One fatality has been reported.

The constitutional decree made November 22 by Morsi protected the constitution drafting body of Egypt from dissolution and also protected executive decisions from being overturned. The decree has sparked protests and strikes reminiscent of protests which eventually toppled the then president Hosni Mubarak.

Earlier this year in September Egyptian courts ruled to dissolve Egypt's parliament. Morsi opposed the ruling, threatening action, but later respected the decision.

Mohamed ElBaradei said Morsi is acting like a "new pharaoh". In a comment to Der Spiegel, he said, "Not even the pharaohs had so much authority, to say nothing of his predecessor Hosni Mubarak. This is a catastrophe, it [is] a mockery of the revolution that brought him to power."

ElBaradei has also said that because of the recent decree "a civil war threatens to erupt in Egypt."

Morsi has stated the decree is temporary. He met with Egypt's judiciary on Monday.

Counter demonstration planned by the Muslim Brotherhood and Nour Party has been cancelled to avoid possible further violence.