Egypt's crisis widens with planned march, strikes
BY MAGGIE MICHAEL Associated Press
Tuesday, December 04, 2012
12/04/12 at 6:25 AM
Egypt's political crisis is widening, with plans for a huge march and a general strike Tuesday to protest the hurried drafting of a new constitution and decrees by President Mohammed Morsi that gave him nearly unrestricted powers.
Morsi also faces the prospect of wider civil disobedience as media, the tourism industry and law professors pondered moves that would build on a strike by the nation's judges.
The planned strikes and march raise new fears of unrest, threatening to derail the country's transition to democratic rule.
"Egypt is a big ship in high seas, and no one should stop its captain from taking it to the shore," said Morsi's legal adviser, Mohammed Gaballah, defending his boss. "The ship must keep moving under any conditions."
The country's judges have already gone on strike over Morsi's Nov. 22 decrees that placed him above oversight of any kind, including the courts. Following those decrees, a panel dominated by the president's Islamist supporters rushed through a draft constitution without the participation of representatives of liberals and Christians. Only four women, all Islamists, attended the marathon, all-night session.
Morsi has called for a Dec. 15 national referendum to approve the constitution.
An opposition coalition dominated by the liberal and leftist groups that led last year's uprising had already called for a general strike Tuesday and a large demonstration against the constitutional process and Morsi's decrees.
Newspapers plan to suspend publication, and privately owned TV networks will blacken their screens all day.
Morsi's moves have plunged an already polarized Egypt into the worst political crisis since the uprising that ousted President Hosni Mubarak.
A supporter of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi holds a banner with his picture and words in Arabic that read "yes for the constitutional declaration to stop corruption," during a protest Monday in front of Egypt's top court in Cairo. NASSER NASSER / AP
The covers of a prominent Egyptian newspaper read "no to dictatorship." Eleven Egyptian newspapers plan to suspend publication Tuesday in protest. NASSER NASSER / AP