Since Egypt’s post-revolution president Mohamed Morsi made executive decrees barring judicial review of his actions and so granting himself near absolute power to “uphold the revolution”, he has faced a swelling tide of protest. First, judges began to strike, then 80% of judges joined the strike, then the supreme court unanimously agreed to join the strike, and the protest encampment in Tahrir Square regenerated and has grown.
But this week, pro-Morsi mobs, reportedly linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, whose political arm supports Morsi, attacked the nonviolent opposition protesters. This led to violence elsewhere across Egypt, including the firebombing of a Brotherhood political headquarters in Sinai. Protesters have begun to accuse Morsi of setting himself up as a new “pharaoh” and the mass demonstrations have been designated “last warning” protests.
With five people killed and hundreds injured by the pro-Morsi attacks, opposition leader and Nobel laureate Mohamed al-Baradei has said Morsi has now lost all legitimacy. Al-Baradei and opposition protesters, however, are demanding first of all that Morsi rescind his presidential decrees overriding the power of the judiciary and that he suspend plans for a rushed referendum on a controversial draft constitution put together by the Islamist coalition of Muslim Brotherhood and radical Salafists he leads.