By Jim Kouri
Just two days after Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi worked with the Obama administration to help bring about a ceasefire between Israel defense forces and Palestinian terrorists in Gaza, thousands of protestors flooded Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Friday to voice their opposition to the new constitutional declaration issued by Morsi on Thursday.
In a political demonstration called by the protestors the “rally of anger and warning,” protestors came together from districts throughout Cairo after the Friday prayer. The rally and demonstration is reportedly headed by the April 6 Movement, the Revolutionary Youth Coalition, and the Kefaya Movement, along with other pro-secularist organizations.
According to an Israeli intelligence source who monitors North Africa, Morsi’s constitutional declaration provides him with the power to override decisions made by the country’s new judiciary. Protestors claim that Morsi declared himself Egypt’s de facto pharaoh.
Morsi’s controversial declaration ruled that all laws, decrees and constitutional declarations issued by the president since coming to office on June 30, 2012, are final and unchallengeable by any body, while it will not lead to reinstate the People’s Assembly.
Leaders of the demonstration claim that the president wishes to dictate that Egyptians accept the Islamist-dominated Constitutional Assembly, from which the Coptic (Christian) church and most of the country’s liberals deserted in protest.
While the Cairo rally boasted the largest turnout, there also are large demonstrations in cities such as Suez, Alexandria, and Ismaelia, where clashes erupted between pro- and anti-Morsi Egyptians. As the rallies gain more and more steam, violent incidents are beginning to be reported by the Middle Eastern news media. For example, violent clashes in Ismailia left at least 50 persons injured.
Not to be outdone by the secularists, Islamists held a big rally in front of the Presidential al-Ethadeya palace, led by the Muslim Brotherhood members and other Islamists’ groups, to express their support for President Morsi’s decisions.
Cairo’s downtown area had already been occupied since Nov. 19, 2012, by hundreds of protestors who were commemorating last year’s clashes on Mohamed Mahmoud street. Tensions between the protestors expanded since the beginning of the commemorating rally, which has left 170 people injured.
The Muslim Brotherhood, the Salafist Movement and other Islamists are pushing for a constitution based on Shariah (Islamic) law.
“Egyptians are trying to decide if they want a country like Iran or a democratic nation like Israel. It remains to be seen who will win this internal battle,” said an Israeli counterterrorism source.