Protest against Morsi's decrees attacked by unknown assailants
Police intervene to end clashes that erupted before Egypt's High Judiciary Court as hundreds of demonstrators protest president Mohamed Morsi's controversial decree
Salma Shukrallah, Saturday 24 Nov 2012
Egyptian protesters gather outside the country's high court in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012. Egyptís highest body of judges slammed on Saturday a recent decision by the president to grant himself near-absolute power, calling the move an ìunprecedented assaultî on the judiciary (Photo: AP)
Hundreds of protesters who marched on Egypt's High Judiciary Court in downtown Cairo to protest against president Mohamed Morsi's decree were attacked by unknown assailants.
The liberal Constitution Party, the Egyptian Social Democratic Party and the liberal Wafd Party were protesting Morsi's recent constitutional declaration and voicing support to judges who were holding an extraordinary general assembly inside the building to discuss responses to Morsi's decree.
Ahram Online reporters at the scene said the demonstrators were attacked with fireworks, which stirred panic among them as everyone ran aimlessly to escape violence. One protester was bleeding following the attack.
Police has arrived on the scene and are using tear gas canisters to disperse protesters.
The protesters gathered in front of the High court as members of the Judiciary General Assembly mulled measures to oppose Morsi’s highly-controversial decree.
They chanted "the people demand the downfall of the regime" and "Freedom, Bread, the dissolution of constituent assembly," in reference to the embattled Islamist-dominated constitution writing body.
Judges, who also signaled their growing contempt by chanting "the people demand the downfall of the regime", were due to go to Tahrir square, the cradle of last year’s revolution, to continue their demonstrations.
During the general assembly, head of the Judges Club Ahmed El-Zind saluted deposed prosecutor general Abdel Meguid Mahmoud, referring to him as Egypt's "Public Prosecutor".
Mahmoud, who was dismissed by Morsi, said he would legally challenge the president’s decision.
"All Parties and groups protesting in Tahrir support the judges against this decree, we are waiting for the meeting to end to join their march to Tahrir," Ahmed Hafez, founding member of the Constitution Party, told Ahram Online.
On Thursday, Morsi issued a constitutional decree that stirred controversy among Egypt's judges, many seeing it as an overstepping of the Judiciary's authorities.
The newly-announced constitutional declaration says that the president's decisions cannot be overturned by any judicial authority – putting him out of judicial reach.
The declaration also replaces the prosecutor-general, which Morsi had attempted to remove weeks ago, but couldn't due to a legal barrier - which he managed to eliminate in Thursday's decree.
Before Morsi's declaration, appointing the Prosecutor General was within the authority of the Supreme Judicial Council.