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Opposition set to march on presidential palace against Morsi decrees
Opposition forces will rally at the presidential palace in Heliopolis and in Tahrir on Tuesday as judiciary conflicts continue ahead of the looming referendum
Nada Hussein Rashwan, Monday 3 Dec 2012
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Opposition to march on presidential palace as constitution deadlock persists
Thousands of demonstrators gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir square on Tuesday to protest against the constitutional declaration (Photo: Reuters)

Egyptian opposition parties and revolutionary groups will organise a march to the presidential palace in Heliopolis on Tuesday afternoon to protest the draft constitution, which will be put to national referendum on 15 December.

The call was initiated by the National Salvation Front, a recently-formed umbrella group led by former presidential candidates Hamdeen Sabbahi and Amr Moussa, as well as reform campaigner Mohamed ElBaradei, after President Morsi announced the date of the upcoming referendum on Saturday.

"The Constituent Assembly is illegitimate, and it produced a disfigured constitution without the participation of women, Christians, workers or intellectuals. We will seek all nonviolent means to prevent this assault on the rule of law from happening," Hussein Abdel-Ghani, a spokesman for the group, told Ahram Online.

Marches from Rabaa Al-Adaweya Mosque in Nasr City and El-Nour Mosque in Abbasiyya will converge on the presidential palace in the district of Heliopolis in Cairo at 5pm, while adjacent protests in Tahrir Square will begin by 3pm.

Tuesday's protests come after over a hundred thousand protesters held a demonstration in Tahrir on Friday to oppose Morsi's controversial constitutional declaration from 22 November, which renders his decrees immune to judicial challenge and also makes the Islamist-dominated Shura Council and Constituent Assembly immune from dissolution by court order.

Morsi's constitutional declaration prompted a wave of rival protests in Cairo and across the country, as both opponents and supporters of the president showcased their ability to mobilise.

In response to the mass protests on Tuesday and Friday, hundreds of thousands of Islamist supporters demonstrated in Nahdet Masr Square in Giza in support of Morsi's declaration and the Constituent Assembly. The demonstration concluded after the head of the Constituent Assembly delivered the draft constitution to Morsi in a ceremony Saturday evening, where Morsi announced the date of the referendum, to cheers in Nahdet Masr and anger in Tahrir.

"Morsi had no other choice but to issue the constitutional declaration and no time to explain it beforehand, in the face of a manipulative court order by the [Mubarak appointed] Constitutional Court on 2 December to revoke his presidency which would reinstate the military in power," historian Mohamed El-Gawadi told Ahram Online.

"If Morsi succumbs to the demands of the opposition and the judges to cancel the declaration and bring back the sacked prosecutor-general, he will immediately be struck from power by the judiciary."

With Morsi's ostensible refusal to back down and the opposition promising escalation, it is unclear how the deadlock will be resolved ahead of the referendum.
"The only way out of the this situation to cancel the call for referendum and form a committee of independent figures and international experts to reformat the controversial articles, and at the same time he should reformulate the membership of the Constituent Assembly in a more representative structure and then put the constitution before them. But I do not think the president will do that now," political researcher Nabil Abdel-Fattah told Ahram Online.

Conflicts within the judiciary

On Monday, Egypt's Supreme Judicial Council officially announced that it will assign judges to monitor the referendum, stirring further conflicts as earlier in the day, head of the Judges Club Ahmed El-Zend announced that club members have agreed not to monitor the referendum.

Conflicts within the judiciary have been ongoing since the constitutional declaration was issued, where a number of courts across the country had suspended their activities in protest over the constitutional declaration on grounds that it is an infringement on the judiciary.

Last Monday, in an attempt to ease the deepening crisis over the constitutional declaration, Morsi met with senior members of Egypt's Supreme Judicial Council, and following the meeting the presidential office announced that the judges had unanimously agreed to the declaration. The following day, reports circulated that the judges did not express unanimous agreement as was announced by the presidency.

Opposition forces have sided with protesting judges since the declaration was issued, and they renewed their support for judges who boycotted the referendum.
"If the constitution passes without the monitoring of the judges it will be an illegitimate constitution," Hussein Abdel-Ghani told Ahram Online.

Morsi's declaration was explained by the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood and its Freedom and Justice Party as a necessary measure to protect the elected president and the elected Shura Council, as well as the Constituent Assembly, which was formed by the elected people's assembly, from possible dissolution by court verdicts from the High Constitutional Court, whose verdict against the constitutionality of the elected people's assembly led to its dissolution by the military council in June.

"Morsi's declaration has led to internecine conflicts within the judiciary. Also, the inclusion of bodies such as the administrative prosecution and the state commissioners, which are not under the direct mandate of the judiciary, in the process of monitoring the referendum will lead to shallow supervision," political researcher Nabil Abdel-Fattah told Ahram Online.

Hundreds of supporters of the president had gathered outside the court building since Sunday morning, where the court was supposed to issue a verdict on the constitutionality of the Constituent Assembly and the Shura Council, which are both immune to dissolution according to Morsi's decree. In response, the High Constitutional Court (HCC) declared on Sunday it will freeze all its sessions indefinitely in protest of "pressure" exerted upon it by Morsi's supporters.





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Samantha Criscione
06-12-2012 12:28pm
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About the Brotherhood comment brigade
It is funny to see the Brotherhood comment brigade scrambling to dominate internet discussion because the people of Egypt have turned against them. The Brotherhood is forced to condemn Al Ahram, because even this website, officially under the control of the Brotherhood government, has rebelled and is telling the truth. What courage the people of Egypt show, as they show the world the way to deal with fascism. An end to domination of Egypt by the Brotherhood and its neocolonial sponsor, the U.S. government! Let the people rule -- finally! -- Samantha Criscione
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Khaleel
04-12-2012 07:04pm
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Undemocratic opposition crying wolf
Opposition is not confident to win the referendum hence these protests. What they want? Judges or military to rule the country in place of elected President?
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Zain Alabedin
04-12-2012 10:20am
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100% correct
The comment of Sandy Norton is 100% correct. The opposition forces trying to create an anarchy and are provoking the military to stage a coup. If the opposition don't like Mursy or Islamic movement in Egypt, then they can migrate to West, doors are open for them.
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mumby
04-12-2012 09:32am
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Be Fair in critic
Ye you have right to critic but Morsi supporters have right to counter critic.Many things people have been said about Morsi and his group but on the ground reveal they much worship Allah,doing charity,education, helping people and so on.In judgement I put fist what is reveal on the reality ground rather than what people say.Let take a look on Opposition leaders and their groups.Some of them having western head,some keen to socialism,some are Mubarak remnant.What they doing in serving people?Even they have no much space in ministers but they could do in minor space,in society.Let people judge Morsi and his group in electoral ballot and You Oppositions will judged as well.
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Sandy Norton
03-12-2012 11:38pm
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Mursi is correct
I think the Mubarak judges are quite malicious. They are seeking a way to overthrow the elected president and prompt a military coup. Morsi is obliged to protect democracy.
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Bubbly
04-12-2012 01:43pm
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comments
Jinnah..what you said is 100% correct....every article here on ahram or other print or electronic media is anti Mursi...I never seen any of the article in favour of Mursy even before the elections. Media is being biased with Mursy even before the preseidential elections as thery were projecting Amr Mosa as fron runner while Musry on 5th...but what happen ? Yes, election results proved that Media was absolutely biased.Media never opend their lips against the dictatorship of mubrak now they are carying for freem of expression.Shame of media for the real culprits of destablizing this great country.
TH
04-12-2012 01:15pm
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What logic !
Claiming to protect democracy by eliminating it is just another way to become a dictator. It is like Obama dismissing the Republican Senate to avoid the Fiscal cliff !
Zain Alabedin
04-12-2012 09:14am
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100% correct
The comment of Sandy Norton is 100% correct. The opposition forces trying to create an anarchy and are provoking the military to stage a coup. If the opposition don't like Mursy or Islamic movement in Egypt, then they can migrate to West, doors are open for them.
Zain Alabedin
04-12-2012 09:06am
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100% correct
The comment of Sandy Norton is 100% correct. The opposition forces trying to create an anarchy and are provoking the military to stage a coup. If the opposition don't like Mursy or Islamic movement in Egypt, then they can migrate to West, doors are open for them.
ali
04-12-2012 03:45am
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your absolutely correct
these judges hatched a plan to overthrow an elected leader before but failed when morsi countered their scheme by unseating tantawi and co. but these munafiqs still have some scheming left in them before they get wiped out by the egyptian people. these secularist are on tge payroll of foreign enemies of islam. just look at tunisia, they are trying to unseat an elected leader there as well even though the islamist bent over backward to please them but no. i hope morsi doesnt give in 1 inch to these felool but take from them 10 foot.

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