Cairo, Egypt – Egypt might have a new pharaoh if reports about Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi seizing new powers are to be believed. President Mohamed Mursi recently issued a decree exempting all of his decisions from legal challenge until a new parliament is elected. This caused fury among his political opponents, who are accusing him of being the new Mubarak who is hijacking the Arab Spring revolution. This Mursi “coup” caused protesters to gather in Tahrir Square, prompting violent clashes between Muslim Brotherhood supporters and those demanding Mursi step down.
On Thursday, according to Reuters Mursi ordered that an Islamist-dominated assembly could not be dissolved by legal challenges while it is struggling to write the new Egyptian constitution. Pharaoh Mursi, a Muslim with backing from the Muslim Brotherhood party, also “gave himself sweeping powers that allowed him to sack the unpopular general prosecutor and opened the door for a retrial for Mubarak and his aides.”
This action did not sit well with the people of Egypt, who now believe they had traded one dictator for a new Egypt pharaoh.
“The people want to bring down the regime,” shouted protesters in Tahrir, echoing a chant used in the uprising that forced Mubarak to step down. “Get out, Mursi,” they chanted, along with “Mubarak tell Mursi, jail comes after the throne.”
The reaction from the rest of the world to Mursi seizing more power has not been very much better.
“We are very concerned about the possible huge ramifications of this declaration on human rights and the rule of law in Egypt,” Rupert Colville, spokesman for the U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay, said at the United Nations in Geneva.
In Alexandria, protesters ransacked an office of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political party, burning books and throwing office chairs in the street. Supporters of Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood clashed with opponents elsewhere in the city, leaving 12 injured. At least 18 people were reported injured in fighting in Tahrir Square in Cairo, where many of the protests that led to the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak were held.
“The decree is basically a coup on state institutions and the rule of law that is likely to undermine the revolution and the transition to democracy,” Mervat Ahmed, an independent activist in Tahrir protesting against the decree, said. “I worry Mursi will be another dictator like the one before him.”
Before seizing these new powers, President Mohamed “Pharaoh” Mursi had called on Egypt and Muslims in all Arab capitals to strive for a “Day of Rage” against Israel last Friday. Egypt can now be counted alongside Iran, since it was one of the few nations in the world to support Hamas during the Gaza attacks leading up to the ground war and the eventual cease-fire agreement. The new Egypt Pharaoh came to power supported by the Muslim Brotherhood after what President Obama called the “Arab Spring.”