Top Egyptian Courts Suspend Work as Protests Continue

Posted November 28th, 2012 at 9:45 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Hundreds of Egyptians continued their demonstrations against President Mohamed Morsi for a sixth straight day as two of Egypt's highest courts said they will suspend work in protest of his decrees.

Egypt's Cassation and Appeals courts said Wednesday they would go on strike until the Supreme Constitutional Court rules on the president's order granting himself immunity from judicial review.

The constitutional court has accused Mr. Morsi of an unjustified attack on its independence. In a statement released Wednesday, the court rejected charges made by the president that it is working to bring down his government.

Mr. Morsi and the judicial branch have been in a political tussle for nearly a week over whether courts can review the president's powers. Tens of thousands of Egyptians turned out in Cairo's main square and around the country Tuesday, accusing the president of acting like a dictator.

Mr. Morsi granted himself new powers in a November 22 decree that bars the judiciary from challenging his decisions. The president says the decrees are designed to protect state institutions.

Mr. Morsi later promised the Supreme Judicial Council that he will restrict his newly self-granted powers to “sovereign matters.” But the vaguely worded statement did not define the issues over which he would have absolute power.

Opposition groups demand that Mr. Morsi cancel his decree.

Police fired tear gas into a crowd of stone-throwing protesters on a street near the U.S. Embassy in Cairo Wednesday. Other demonstrators staged a sit-in at Tahrir Square, the epicenter of protests during last year's ouster of Mr. Morsi's predecessor, Hosni Mubarak.