Sunday’s papers: The judges vs. the president

The judges’ face-off with President Mohamed Morsy takes the lead in Sunday’s papers, alongside the rest of the aftermath of Morsy’s controversial constitutional declaration that he announced on Thursday, giving himself vast powers.

State-owned Al-Ahram leads the front page with, “A busy day for judges in defying the constitutional declaration.” The newspaper reports that there were different reactions from judges as the majority decided to continue working, while some suspended their work, with courts in Alexandria, Qalyubiya and Beheira governorates refusing to hear cases. The daily newspaper quotes the Supreme Judicial Council as saying that the new constitutional declaration is “an unprecedented violation [of] the independence of the judiciary and its rulings.”

The declaration renders the president’s decrees and laws immune from appeal or cancellation. It also protects both the Shura Council and the Islamist-dominated Constituent Assembly from dissolution by any judicial authority, and extends the constitution-writing body’s mandate by two months. 

Morsy also appointed Talaat Abdallah as prosecutor general in place of Abdel Meguid Mahmoud.

The dismissed prosecutor general threatened to resort to the judiciary to defend his post as and announced that he takes full responsibility for the performance of the Public Prosecution in recent months, according to Al-Ahram.

Abdallah was also quoted in Al-Ahram saying that he would work to restore rights and freedoms and lay the groundwork for law and justice.

On the other hand, Freedom and Justice, the FJP newspaper, is flooded with headlines indicating the people’s support of Morsy’s constitutional declaration, completely ignoring news about judges’ reactions. On the top of the front page, the Brotherhood’s mouthpiece briefly mentions Facebook polls that show support for Morsy’s recent decisions. It reports that 91 percent support Morsy’s decision on Al Jazeera’s Facebook page, 84 percent are in favor of Morsy’s decision on Rasd News’s Facebook page — a Facebook-based news agency — and 74 percent on the “We are all Khaled Saeed” Facebook page.

Below the polls is a headline in bold black typeface announcing, “Sit-ins in governorates and a million-man march on Tuesday in support of the president.”

This headline is followed by “The prosecutor general: Mubarak in front of revolutionary court soon,” a catchy title that is guaranteed to appease many Egyptians who believe Mubarak got away with killing peaceful protesters during the 25 January revolution.

On 2 June, Mubarak and former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly were sentenced to life in prison for failing to prevent the killing the protesters during the 25 January revolution. There was no evidence proving that Mubarak and his aides gave orders to kill peaceful protesters, according to the court.  However, the court said that Mubarak and Adly did not act to stop the deadly crackdown of security forces on peaceful protests, which incriminated them. The verdict sparked protests across Egypt slamming the judiciary and the prosecutor general, and demanding justice.

The revolution protection law included in Morsy’s declaration calls for the retrial of those involved in killing peaceful protesters during the 25 January revolution.

State-run Rose al-Youssef leads with a sensational headline in bold, red font on the center of the front page reading, “Egypt is on fire.”

The daily newspaper reports that five lawsuits were filed against Morsy’s controversial decision, describing him as a “dictator.” The paper also focuses on judges’ reactions, describing them in a headline as, “The judges’ revolution.”

Privately-owned Al-Watan also uses a sensational headline in bold red on the front center of the front page, reading, “The battle of the million-man marches erupt between the revolutionaries and the Brotherhood.”

The newspaper reports that the Muslim Brotherhood will organize a “million-man march” in Abdeen Square on Tuesday to support Morsy’s decisions. “Revolutionary forces” are also organizing several marches on Tuesday, and the paper reports that revolutionaries plan on holding a march to the presidential palace mosques on Friday, dubbing the day, “The people want to retrieve their revolution,” and also intend to hold a sit-in outside the Shura Council and prevent its members from entering.

Private daily Al-Shorouk reports, “Tahrir Square starts a wave of open sit-ins against the president,” noting that dozens of secular groups have announced an open-ended sit-in at Tahrir until the constitutional declaration is annulled and the Constituent Assembly is dissolved.

The paper adds that the clashes between protesters and police that broke out last week on Mohamed Mahmoud Street off of Tahrir Square are continuing. The fighting erupted following protests marking the one-year anniversary of the Mohamed Mahmoud clashes, which left 45 dead and hundreds injured.

Most state-run newspapers failed to mention much about the protests, except the Freedom and Justice newspaper, which ran a headline on the bottom of the front page reading, “Tahrir … is empty.”

The newspaper reports that hundreds of protesters left the square, leaving behind a few tents and bystanders watching the scene. The Brotherhood’s mouthpiece quotes eyewitnesses claiming that “thugs” broke into an apartment opposite the Lycee al-Horeya schoo lbuilding, where most of the clashes are taking place between security forces and protesters. The “thugs” threw rocks, Molotov cocktails and furniture from the apartment on police forces from the balcony despite apartment residents trying to stop them, according to the daily newspaper.


Egypt’s papers:

Al-Ahram: Daily, state-run, largest distribution in Egypt

Al-Akhbar: Daily, state-run, second to Al-Ahram in institutional size

Al-Gomhurriya: Daily, state-run

Rose al-Youssef: Daily, state-run

Al-Dostour: Daily, privately owned

Al-Shorouk: Daily, privately owned

Al-Watan: Daily, privately owned

Al-Wafd: Daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party

Youm7: Daily, privately owned

Al-Tahrir: Daily, privately owned

Al-Sabah: Daily, privately owned

Freedom and Justice: Daily, published by the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party

Sawt al-Umma: Weekly, privately owned

Al-Arabi: Weekly, published by the Nasserist Party

Al-Nour: Official paper of the Salafi Nour Party

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