Too little, too late: Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi backed down on Saturday and annulled a controversial decree raising his authority above that of the judiciary, but demonstrators are threatening to continue their protests. Security forces have moved into place, and it appears that more clashes between rulers and ruled in Cairo are likely, despite similar scenes barely two years ago.
The decree, issued last month, enraged the populace and prompted judges and prosecutors to strike for days. Cairo's iconic Tahrir Square, where Egypt's January 25 Revolution swelled in 2011 to topple former President Hosni Mubarak from his decades-long regime, again was packed with protesters who clashed with police for days.
But Morsi's decision to reverse the decree, reached over the weekend, wasn't enough, offering “nothing new” and appearing to be “an attempt to dodge” opposition demands,” Popular Current spokeswoman Heba Yassin told Bloomberg News.
The groundswell of roaring opposition that grew over the past month vowed to keep up the pressure against a draft Constitution Morsi had also rammed through.
"We have broken the barrier of fear,” tweeted Mohamed ElBaradei, newly elected opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate on his account on the Twitter social networking website. “A constitution that aborts our rights and freedoms is a constitution that we will topple today.”
The draft document, written by an Islamist committee, allegedly infringes on general freedoms, and fails to protect the rights of women and minorities. The National Assembly committee that authored the draft was boycotted by secular, liberal and Coptic Christian lawmakers.
Although the committee had a deadline extension to consider their words with care until February, Morsi cut the process short, pressured the Assembly to finish within days, and dissolved the group last weekend.
A national referendum on the draft was set for December 15, further infuriating the masses, who called the Islamist president, backed by the Muslim Brotherhood, “the new Pharoah.”
Expatriate voting on the draft is to begin Dec. 12.