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

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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.

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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
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 death.it 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 fire.show 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 liberal.in the process to establish an islamic state ,freedom right of minority will vanished and they would be a subject of prosecution

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