News / Africa

Egyptian Protests Turn Violent

Protesters storm an office of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood Freedom and Justice party and set fires in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, Egypt, Nov. 23, 2012.
Protesters storm an office of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood Freedom and Justice party and set fires in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, Egypt, Nov. 23, 2012.
VOA News
Protesters in several Egyptian cities have attacked the offices of the ruling Muslim Brotherhood, as rival pro- and anti-government groups demonstrate in Cairo about a new presidential decree.

The violence comes a day after Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi put himself above oversight and declared that his decisions cannot be appealed by the courts or any other authority. In a speech to supporters Friday at the presidential palace, Morsi said he wants to move Egypt forward as a stable and safe nation and does not want sole control of the country.

Thousands of opposition supporters, including liberal politician Mohamad ElBaradei, former head of the U.N. atomic energy agency, gathered in Tahrir Square on Friday to protest the president's decision, while police fired tear gas at the crowds. ElBaradei has accused the president of making himself a "new pharaoh" by taking on so much power.

In the cities of Port Said, Ismailia, and Alexandria, crowds of protesters lobbed stones and explosives and set fire to Muslim Brotherhood offices. In Alexandria, people were seen tossing papers and other objects out office windows, while a party banner hanging on the wall of a building had been ripped nearly in half. The protesters chanted, "The people want the fall of the regime." At least a dozen people were injured.

Earlier reports said the Muslim Brotherhood offices in Suez were also burned, but state television later retracted that report.

Photo Gallery: Egyptian Protests

Presidential decree

Morsi's decree also bars Egypt's judiciary from dissolving the upper house of parliament and an assembly drafting a new constitution -- two bodies dominated by Mr. Morsi's Islamist allies.

In addition,  Morsi has ordered retrials of former officials who used violence in efforts to suppress last year's popular revolution against longtime president Hosni Mubarak.

A presidential spokesman said the moves were made to end a deadlock in Cairo on forming a new constitution and moving the country forward.

The president's action comes after he received international praise for mediating a Gaze cease-fire.

Egyptian courts have been examining cases demanding the dissolution of both assemblies. But Morsi's decree effectively neutralizes the judiciary system in favor of the ruling Muslim Brotherhood.

Timeline of developments in Egypt

Loading timeline...

Judiciary neutering

Egyptian courts have been examining cases demanding the dissolution of both assemblies. But Morsi's decree effectively neutralizes the judiciary system in favor of the ruling Muslim Brotherhood.
The announced retrials for those suspected of involvement in the killings of protesters during the 2011 uprising, could include a retrial of former president Hosni Mubarak. The ousted leader was sentenced to life in prison in June for failing to stop the killings. He avoided convictions on more serious offenses of corruption and ordering the deadly crackdown, however, which angered many Egyptians.

Other Mubarak-era officials and security personnel also have been acquitted on charges of killing protesters, prompting critics to accuse the top government prosecutor of mishandling the cases.  In his decree Thursday, Morsi fired that prosecutor, Abdel-Maguid Mahmoud, a Mubarak appointee who had been in the post for many years.  The decree retroactively limited Mahmoud's term to four years, bringing it to an immediate end.

Morsi had tried to fire Mahmoud last month but was blocked by the courts. He named Talat Abdullah as the government's new general prosecutor.

The president's action comes after he received international praise for mediating a Gaze cease-fire.

Concern expressed

The U.S. government has expressed concern about Morsi's decrees. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland remarked Friday that one of the aspirations of Egypt's revolution was to ensure that power would not be overly concentrated in the hands of any one person or institution.

She said the current constitutional vacuum in Egypt can only be resolved by the adoption of a constitution that includes checks and balances, and respects fundamental freedoms, individual rights, and the rule of law consistent with Egypt's international commitments.  

The spokeswoman also called for calm and encouraged all parties to work together to resolve their differences on these important issues peacefully and through democratic dialogue.

You May Like

Kurdish President: More Needed to Defeat Islamic State

In interview with VOA's Persian Service, Massoud Barzani says peshmerga forces have not received weapons, logistical support needed to successfully fight IS in northern Iraq More

Sierra Leone's Stray Dog Population Doubles During Ebola Crisis

Many dog owners fear their pets could infect them with the virus and have abandoned them, leading to the increase and sparking fears of rabies More

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

New methods for mapping pain in the brain not only validate sufferers of chronic pain but might someday also lead to better treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: chas baumgaertner from: bremerton, wa.
November 24, 2012 12:54 PM
There are no tourists in Egypt anymore. So, that means no income for the country. Women tourists in Cairo have been beaten. The West has been shot at since the Crusades. "Allah is Great", agrees my Protestant Church pastor but man is full if sin.
In Response

by: ali baba from: new york
November 24, 2012 9:59 PM
i agree

by: david lulasa from: tambua,hamisi,vihiga,keny
November 24, 2012 4:52 AM
before egyptians went into a rampage,they ought to find out if mursi is really okay healthwise..having more powers wont necessarilly mean that he wont be ignorant and have everything done..a few egyptians have been quick to anger and should never blame it on so called scare by mursi.

by: Hassan from: Egypt
November 24, 2012 3:32 AM
it is now known beyond doubt that Iranian agents are exploiting unrest in Egypt and fanning Shia revolution. the truth is that no one is safe now in Egypt... everyone is buying guns... we have contaminated waters, no electricity, the "police" kidnap and extort local business, drugs imported from Turkey destroy our society, political prisons are fuller than ever, torture rooms are more bloody than ever.
In Response

by: ali baba from: new york
November 24, 2012 10:08 PM
from your description,it is a bad situation. i feel sad about every egyption regardless who he is ? moresy instead to improve the suffering codition of people ,he divert his attention to establish islamic empire. god will remember the poor and hungry and sick . if turkey exported drugs to egypt ,it revive the picture of ottman empire which left egypt in the darkness.

by: Haron from: Afghanistan
November 23, 2012 1:19 PM
dear Ali Baba... what should I say or what the words I have to use? about your relation with West. anyway they were your relations (America, French, UK, Italy and many more) that supported the protesters and rebels. in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt now it is on Syria. but they supported rebels to kill Christians in Muslim countries. what the Western countries got? Syria protect Christians but other Christians and Catholics are against Assad. not far. but, as soon as possible the problems of Afghanistan in 1991 or the problems of Middle-east turn to West. civil war, execution, corruption in government, economic crisis, agriculture problems, feeding of civilans by goverment and jobless rate. all these things come step by step. as we watch little sign of them on Greece, USA, Italy, French, Spain, UK, Czech and Germany
In Response

by: ali baba from: new york
November 23, 2012 9:18 PM
we are talking about egypt .we are not talking about syria. egypt should be a secular country where everybody has the right to choose his religion and his life style .imposing islamic law on moderate mkuslim and christain is an an insult of their inegrity. killing and prosecute christain is not accepted for example Bashtun in afganistan like homosexulity why ,i do not know islamic law is an evil act where woman can be stoned to is barberic law and should not implemented in egypt

by: Crystal
November 23, 2012 12:29 PM
I just don't get it....he was voted in...what were the people expecting?

by: ali baba from: new york
November 23, 2012 10:54 AM
good job to set muslim brotherhood offices in a him that people will not tolerate any more

by: ali baba from: new york
November 23, 2012 5:54 AM
Hosni Mubark was a great president in Egypt. Mubark was able to keep the country safe for thirty years. morsy is a muslim fanatic .he uses double standard,deception and liar to achieve his goal .His goal is to establish an islamic state aganist the will of moderate Egyptian,christain and the process to establish an islamic state ,freedom right of minority will vanished and they would be a subject of prosecution

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Paini
Shelley Schlender
April 20, 2015 7:03 PM
Pain has a purpose - it can stop you from touching a flame or from walking on a broken leg. As an injury heals, the pain goes away. Usually. But worldwide, one out of every five people suffers from pain that lasts for months and years, leading to lost jobs, depression, and rising despair when medical interventions fail or health experts hint that a pain sufferer is making it up. From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.

Video Italy Rescues Migrants After Separate Deadly Capsize Incident

Italy continued its massive search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean Monday for the capsized boat off the coast of Libya that was carrying hundreds of migrants, while at the same time rescuing Syrian migrants from another vessel off the coast of Sicily. Thirteen children were among the 98 Syrian migrants whose boat originated from Turkey on the perilous journey to Europe.

Video New Test Set to Be Game Changer in Eradicating Malaria

The World Health Organization estimates 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria, with children under the age of five and pregnant women being the most vulnerable. As World Malaria Day approaches (April 25), mortality rates are falling, and a new test -- well into the last stage of trials -- is having positive results in Kenya. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA from Nairobi.

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.

VOA Blogs