- Middle East/North Africa
Thousands of Egyptians took to the streets in various governorates Friday to denounce the constitutional declaration issued on 22 November, as well as the final draft of the constitution approved by the Islamist-dominated Constituent Assembly.
Protesters say President Mohamed Morsy’s decrees grant him unprecedented powers and make him a new dictator. They say the constitution was approved hastily and without the consensus of different political and social powers.
In Alexandria, thousands protested at Al-Qaed Ibrahim Mosque, demanding the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly, and for Morsy and Prime Minister Hesham Qandil to step down.
The protesters chanted, “The people want to topple the president” and “Down with the guide’s rule,” referring to Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie.
Protesters who spoke to Al-Masry Al-Youm said they think Morsy’s administration receives instructions from the Brotherhood Guidance Bureau, the top executive body of the group. They also raised banners reading: “The revolution continues,” “Leave” and “The Constituent Assembly is void.”
In Modereya Square in Beni Suef Governorate, hundreds began protesting the constitutional declaration after Friday prayers. They chanted “Down with the supreme guide’s rule,” and called on Morsy to cancel the declaration to prevent events from escalating.
Mohamed Owais Ibrahim, Tagammu Party secretary in Beni Suef, called the declaration a “grave mistake committed against the Egyptian people,” saying it should be scrapped because the judiciary should be respected.
“People can no longer live under dictatorial rule. Egyptians started a new political life after the revolution and will not return back again,” said Ibrahim.
Ihab Khater, coordinator of the April 6 Youth Movement in Beni Suef, said people would resist the president’s moves.
“The president wanted to put poison in the honey through the dismissal of the prosecutor general and immunizing his decrees to become a new dictator, but the people will lift the lid on this plot and not succumb,” Khater said.
Meanwhile, Freedom and Justice Party members began to gather in front of the party’s headquarters, in fear of attacks during the demonstrations.
A march paraded through Kafr al-Sheikh’s streets, starting from the local university to Taawon Square, and passing by Al-Nabawy al-Mohandis and Al-Khalifa al-Ma’moun streets.
Heba Mosaad, Constitution Party media spokesperson in Kafr al-Sheikh, said the protest came to express outright rejection of the constitutional declaration, which she described as a pounce on legitimacy and democracy. Mosaad said the protests will not calm down until Morsy backtracks on the declaration.
In Beheira, dozens from the Constitution Party, the Democratic Front and the Popular Current Party, as well as Kefaya and April 6 Youth movements, marched around Damanhour city to express their rejection of the declaration. Their march started at Al-Otobis Mosque and ended at Sa’a Square.
In North Sinai, activists expressed solidarity with Tahrir protesters. They denounced what they called the rule of the Brotherhood supreme guide, and called for freedom of expression.
Demonstrators also organized a protest outside Al-Arish Mosque against the declaration, and announced an open-ended sit-in until Morsy cancels the decision, saying he had sided with some political groups at the expense of others.
In Qena, dozens of members of the Popular Current, Karama, Tagammu and Egyptian Social Democratic parties, along with the 25 January Revolution Youth Coalition, the National Association for Change and the Kefaya and April 6 Youth movements, marched from Al-Aref Bellah Mosque to Mahatta Square in Qena city to express solidarity with the Tahrir demonstrations. They also called for canceling the declaration and dissolving the Constituent Assembly.
In Port Said, dozens staged marches after prayers to demand the cancellation of the declaration.