AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
Published — Thursday 29 November 2012
Last update 29 November 2012 1:41 am
CAIRO: Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists will rally on Saturday to support President Muhammad Mursi, a Brotherhood official said, after a mass protest against his decree to assume broad powers.
Mahmud Ghozlan, a senior Brotherhood member and spokesman, told AFP the rally would be held in Cairo, after the movement had cancelled a mass demonstration that would have coincided with Tuesday’s huge opposition protest.
Meanwhile, the country's top appeals court said it would “suspend all work” until Mursi rescinds the decree that gave him unprecedented presidential powers that cannot be challenged by the judiciary.
Crowds poured into the streets on Tuesday to denounce a decision they see as a dictatorial.
Police fired tear gas early yesterday into Cairo’s Tahrir Square, where hundreds of protesters spent the night after the mass rally.
Clashes that erupted on streets just off Tahrir, near the US embassy, spilled into the square, with canisters falling into the crowd forcing protesters to run and sending clouds of tear gas over the tents housing the demonstrators.
The outskirts of the square have seen sporadic skirmishes for nine days since a protest was begun to mark the one-year anniversary of deadly confrontations with police in the same area.
Clashes also raged through the night between supporters and opponents of Mursi in the Nile Delta city of Mahalla and the canal city of Port Said.
In Mahalla, 132 people were injured while 27 were hurt in Port Said, medical sources told AFP. According to a security official, calm in both towns had been restored by morning.
Protesters are furious at the decree that Mursi announced last Thursday allowing him to “issue any decision or law that is final and not subject to appeal”, which effectively placed him beyond judicial oversight. The move helped consolidate the long-divided opposition, with leading dissidents former UN nuclear watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei and ex-Arab League chief Amr Mussa uniting with former presidential candidates in the face of Mursi and the powerful Muslim Brotherhood, on whose ticket Mursi ran for office.
The Brotherhood and the secular-leaning opposition had stood side by side in Cairo’s Tahrir Square in 2011 as they fought to bring down Mubarak and his regime.
The movement went on to dominate a committee tasked with drafting the country’s new constitution, prompting a string of walkouts by liberals, leftists and churches.
Mursi’s decree also bans any judicial body from dissolving the controversial panel, putting him on a collision course with the judiciary. Several courts have suspended work in protest.