CAIRO — Egypt’s official news agency says that the country’s highest body of judges has called the president’s recent decrees an “unprecedented assault on the independence of the judiciary and its rulings.”
In a statement carried on MENA Saturday, the Supreme Judicial Council says they regret the declarations President Mohammed Morsi issued Thursday.
The council is packed with judges appointed by former President Hosni Mubarak. It regulates judicial promotions and is chaired by the head of the Court of Cassation.
The judges released their statement following an emergency meeting Saturday, a day after tens of thousands of Egyptians demonstrated to denounce Morsi’s decision. The primary court in Alexandria and the judges’ club there announced Saturday they and public prosecutors have suspended all work until the declaration is withdrawn, according to the state news agency MENA.
The edicts give him near-absolute power and immunity from appeals in courts for any decisions or laws he declares until a new constitution and parliament is in place.
Morsi’s political opponents, members of leftist, liberal, socialist parties and others, called on their supporters to march en masse to Tahrir Square on Tuesday, with the aim of “toppling the fascist, despotic constitutional declaration” issued by the Egyptian president.
A statement posted on the Facebook page of the liberal Dustour party read, “We are facing a historic moment in which we either complete our revolution or we abandon it to become prey for a group that has put its narrow party interests above the national interest.”
Several hundred protesters remained in Cairo’s Tahrir Square Saturday, where a number of tents have been erected in a sit-in following nearly a week of clashes with riot police. The country’s most prominent opposition groups called for another mass rally on Tuesday, saying that the edicts make Morsi a “new pharaoh.”
Health ministry officials quoted in state media said more than 200 people were wounded nationwide in the clashes Friday. Security officials said more than 100 police were also wounded in clashes in Cairo near Tahrir Square where protesters have been battling security forces for days to demand retribution for the killing of 42 protesters in November of last year.