Thursday’s papers: On the brink of civil disobedience

The ramifications of the president’s constitutional declaration, which grants Mohamed Morsy powers that go beyond even those enjoyed by his predecessors, are the source of speculation and dramatic headlines as the consequences continue to play out across the country.

“The judiciary announces disobedience against the tyranny,” screams the top front-page headline in independent daily Youm7, reporting that the Court of Cassation has suspended its work in response to last week’s decree.

Privately owned Al-Watan highlights the same news in a headline pointing out that this is the first time in its history that the court has taken part in a strike.   

Independent paper Al-Tahrir reports that appellate courts are also on strike until Morsy rescinds the decree, which put his decisions above judicial challenges and protects the Constituent Assembly and Shura Council from dissolution.

These actions have raised concerns among those who believe the country’s first Islamist president is following in the footsteps of the old regime by manipulating laws and constitutional provisions.

In another story, Al-Tahrir publishes the assertions Maher Samy, vice president and spokesperson of the Supreme Constitutional Court, made during a press conference Wednesday rejecting allegations the court is plotting to bring Morsy down.

Samy reportedly implied that the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party is behind these “groundless” accusations in an attempt to distort the judiciary’s public image.

“Since its ruling dissolving the People’s Assembly, the Supreme Constitutional Court is facing fierce and unfair attacks from a certain major political trend that lost its seats in the Parliament and was deprived of authorities and interests,” reads the court’s statement.

Other publications, like the liberal party paper Al-Wafd and independent Al-Dostour seem to ring the alarms for civil disobedience.

Al-Wafd reports that revolutionaries are planning to give Morsy a second warning in the form of a general strike at state institutions in response to his indifference to their demands.

Written in its signature manifesto style, Al-Dostour continues to express its vigorous campaign against the Muslim Brotherhood, urging the populace to nationwide disobedience.

The paper issues its call to action: “Some sources of political powers assert that the downfall of the dictatorial regime will not happen except by general civil disobedience,” and, “The general civil disobedience will save the people from shedding blood without any confrontations with the group’s militias.”

The article fails to specify how or when this civil disobedience will take place.

Youm7 quotes Karima al-Hefnawy, a prominent member of the Egyptian Socialist Party, as saying that escalation measures, including civil disobedience, will not be taken before the constitutional court rules on the legality of the Shura Council and the Constituent Assembly.

While independent daily Al-Shorouk states that protesters will continue to flood the streets with demonstrations against the declaration, Freedom and Justice, mouthpiece of the Brotherhood, publishes the results of a survey claiming 74 percent support for Morsy’s decree.

Freedom and Justice allocates half of page 7 to a picture of its burning Alexandria headquarters. The paper, predictably, places the blame on the remnants of the previous regime as well as some revolutionaries affiliated with Mohamed ElBaradei’s Constitution Party and Hamdeen Sabbahi’s Popular Current who are referred to as “thugs” in the report.    

To counter anti-declaration protests over the past week, recently re-established daily Al-Sabah reports that Islamists, including the Brotherhood and the ultra-conservative Salafi Nour Party, are rolling up their sleeves to launch massive pro-Morsy rallies across the governorates Saturday.

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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