Cairo’s Tahrir Square has once again seen thousands
of Egyptians converge, this time to denounce President Mohammed Mursi’s decision to grant himself sweeping powers.
In several cities, the offices of Mursi’s group, the
Muslim Brotherhood, were attacked.
Clashes between pro and anti-Mursi protesters showed up the deep divisions that still exist following the 2011 revolution.
Many protesters called Mursi a “new pharoah” and said he was no better than ousted leader Hosni Mubarak.
“These decisions are not well thought out. I don’t think the president considered Egypt’s well-being when he took this action. His only goal was to gain full control of the country,” said one protester Phillip Youssef.
Mursi’s decree states that no authority, including the judiciary, can revoke any presidential decision.
It also gives special protection to an assembly, dominated by Islamists, which is drawing up Egypt’s new constitution.
The ruling will also see retrials of several officials from the era of former president Hosni Mubarak.
Several opposition figures joined the protests including Nobel Laureate Mohamed ElBaradei and former Arab League chief Amr Moussa.
Pro-Mursi rallies were also held across Egypt.
The president told supporters outside his palace in Cairo that the country was on a path towards
“freedom and democracy”.