CAIRO: An alliance of Egyptian opposition groups pledged yesterday to keep up protests against President Mohammed Mursi and said broader civil disobedience was possible to fight what it described as an attempt to “kidnap Egypt from its people”.
The National Salvation Front said a strike declared by judges in protest at a controversial decree issued by Mursi was an “introduction to a general strike that could lead to complete civil disobedience for which there might not be an alternative”.
Two people have been killed and hundreds injured in countrywide protests ignited by the decree Mursi issued last Thursday, which gave him sweeping powers and placed them beyond legal challenge. Indicating a sit-in in Tahrir Square would go on, the Front said it was insistent on “continuing the peaceful marches and demonstrations in all of Egypt’s streets and squares”.
It said Tahrir Square would remain “the theatre of the revolution”. An assembly charged with writing Egypt’s new constitution began voting on its final draft yesterday, a process President Mursi hopes will help to end a crisis which erupted when the Islamist gave himself sweeping new powers. Mursi’s decree last week halting court challenges to his decisions, which provoked protests and violence across the country, will lapse if Egyptians approve the new constitution. Speedy completion of the draft would allow a referendum to be held as soon as mid-December. But Mursi’s opponents have attacked it as an attempt to rush through a text they say has been hijacked by the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies.
In an interview with Time, Mursi said the majority supported his decree but added: “If we had a constitution, then all of what I have said or done last week will stop.” Setting the stage more tension, the Muslim Brotherhood and its Islamist allies have called for pro-Mursi rallies tomorrow. But officials from the Brotherhood’s party changed the venue and said they would avoid Tahrir Square, where a sit-in by the president’s opponents entered a seventh day yesterday.Agencies