Egypt clashes Judges Strike municipal building tear gas 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)
CAIRO - The body representing Egypt's judges called on Saturday for an immediate
strike in all courts and prosecutors offices in protest against President
Mohamed Morsi's decree expanding his powers.
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meeting in Cairo, the Judges Club called on Morsi to retract the decree and to
reinstate Abdel Maguid Mahmoud, the Hosni Mubarak-era prosecutor general who was
sacked as part of the decision unveiled on Thursday.
clashed with police in Cairo on Saturday as protests against Morsi stretched
into a second day, confronting Egypt with a crisis that has exposed the split
between newly empowered Islamists and their opponents.
A handful of
hardcore activists hurling rocks battled riot police in the streets near Tahrir
Square, where several thousand protesters massed on Friday to demonstrate
against a decree that has rallied opposition ranks against
Following a day of violence in Cairo, Alexandria, Port Said and
Suez, the smell of teargas hung over the square, the heart of the uprising that
swept Hosni Mubarak from power in February 2011.
More than 300 people
were injured on Friday. Offices of the Muslim Brotherhood, which propelled Morsi
to power, were attacked in at least three cities.
judicial authority said the decree marked an "unprecedented attack" on the
independence of the judiciary, the state news agency reported.
Saturday, prominent Egyptian opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei reiterated
there could be no dialogue with Egypt's president until he rescinded the
"dictatorial" decree which he said gave Morsi the powers of a
"There is no room for dialogue when a dictator imposes the most
oppressive, abhorrent measures and then says 'let us split the difference',"
ElBaradei said in an interview with Reuters and the Associated Press after talks
with other opposition figures.
"I am waiting to see, I hope soon, a very
strong statement of condemnation by the US, by Europe and by everybody who
really cares about human dignity," he said.
Leftist, liberal and
socialist parties have called for an open-ended sit-in with the aim of
"toppling" the decree. Calling it "fascist and despotic," Morsi's critics also
called for a big protest on Tuesday against a move they say has revealed the
autocratic impulses of a man jailed by Mubarak, who outlawed Morsi's Muslim
"We are facing a historic moment in which we either complete
our revolution or we abandon it to become prey for a group that has put its
narrow party interests above the national interest," the liberal Dustour Party
said in a statement.
Issued late on Thursday, the decree marks an effort
by the Morsi administration to consolidate its influence after it successfully
sidelined Mubarak-era generals in August.
The decree reflects the Muslim
Brotherhood's suspicion towards sections of a judiciary unreformed from
Mubarak's days: it guards from judicial review decisions taken by Morsi until a
new parliament is elected in a vote expected early next year.
shields the assembly writing Egypt's new constitution from a raft of legal
challenges that have threatened the Islamist-dominated assembly with
The Morsi administration has defended the decree on the
grounds that it aims to speed up a protracted transition from Mubarak's rule to
a new system of democratic government.