Egypt’s President Morsi Addresses Nation Amid Deadly Protests

Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi addressed the country late Thursday in an attempt to diffuse the country’s worst political crisis in almost two years. While he called for protests to calm, he refused to rescind a constitution drafted by his allies as well as decrees that gave him almost absolute power.

Morsi’s supporters clashed with opponents on Wednesday outside the president’s Cairo palace in an incident that left six people dead and almost 700 more injured, reports Fox News.

Along with refusing to make many concessions, he also accused some of the opposition protesters of serving or being loyal to the remnants of the old regime. Morsi finally asserted that no one trying to overthrow his “legitimate” government would be tolerated.

Al Jazeera notes that Mohamed Morsi issued his decree on November 22 that granted him powers not subject to judicial review. Morsi called the latest wave of violence “regrettable,” blaming it on “infiltrators” that are funded by unnamed third parties. He added, “Such painful events happened because of political differences that should be resolved through dialogue.”

During his speech on Thursday, Morsi called for a dialogue between both sides to calm violence in the country. He invited his opposition to a “comprehensive and productive dialogue,” which will take place on Saturday.

The Egyptian president also denied opposition leaders’ request to delay a constitutional referendum, which is currently set for December 15. They are also calling on him to revoke his November decree. So far, Morsi has said that the referendum will proceed as planned but that he is not completely set on keeping article six, his decree’s most controversial provision that shields his decisions from judicial review.

Should the draft be rejected on December 15, Morsi stated that he will supervise the formation of a new constituent assembly. Critics of Morsi have said that the 100-member panel that drafted the constitution up for approval or rejection this month has been dominated by Islamists and is not representative of Egyptian society.

Morsi has continued to insist that the violence has been caused by a minority of protesters who are receiving “black money” and weapons from unnamed parties. He added that “they took advantage of the situation.” Morsi’s assertions echo that of senior Muslim Brotherhood officials, who claim that members of former president Mubarak’s regime are trying to overthrow Morsi. None of them have been able to describe a specific plot however.

Do you think that Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi is becoming a dictator, or is he trying to prevent Egypt from becoming corrupt?