Protests in Egypt over President Mohamed Morsi's decision to grab sweeping powers have entered their third day. The president's decrees put him above judicial oversight and protect his Islamist supporters in parliament.
Protesters in Cairo in the iconic Tahrir Square, the site of the 2011 uprising that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak, threw rocks Sunday at police. The police fired back with rounds of tear gas.
Prominent Egyptian democracy advocate Mohammed ElBaradei called on President Morsi Saturday to rescind the near absolute powers he has granted himself.
ElBaradei, addressing crowds in Tahrir Square, said the president must take the action to avoid the possibility of increased turmoil in the country that has recently shed its longtime repressive government.
Egypt's highest body of judges, the Supreme Judicial Council, also condemned President Morsi's decree.
The judges Saturday called the move “an unprecedented attack” on the independence of the judiciary. Judges in Alexandria have gone on strike, saying they will not return to work until the decree is withdrawn.
On Saturday, security forces fired tear gas at the Tahrir Square protesters, many of whom spent the night in the protest hub.
The protests began Friday, a day after President Morsi declared that his decisions cannot be appealed by the courts or any other authority. He cited a need to protect the achievements of the 2011 revolution that led to the ouster of Mubarak after three decades in power.
Mr. Morsi's decree Thursday includes an order for retrials of former officials who used violence to suppress last year's popular revolution against Mubarak. It also bars Egypt's judiciary from dissolving the upper house of parliament and an assembly drafting a new constitution – two bodies dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood.
The decision sparked protests in several Egyptian cities where opponents attacked the offices of the Muslim Brotherhood party.
In a speech to supporters Friday at the presidential palace, Mr. Morsi said he wants to move Egypt forward as a stable and safe nation and does not seek sole control of the country.