Cairo: Prominent democratic Egyptian advocate Mohammed ElBaradei has warned that the increasing turmoil after the Islamist President granted himself sweeping powers could potentially lead to the military stepping in.
Egypt’s liberal and secular forces, long divided, weakened and uncertain amid the rise of Islamist parties to power, are seeking to rally themselves in response to the decrees issued by President Mohammed Mursi.
Mursi granted himself sweeping powers to ‘protect the revolution’ and made himself immune to judicial oversight.
The country’s highest body of judges, the Supreme Judicial Council, called his decrees an ‘unprecedented assault’.
According to Fox News, courts in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria announced a work suspension until the decrees were lifted.
Outside the high court building in Cairo, several hundred demonstrators rallied against Mursi, chanting ‘Leave! Leave!’ echoing the slogan used against former leader Hosni Mubarak in last year's uprising that ousted him.
The edicts issued on Wednesday have galvanised anger brewing against Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood, from which he hails, ever since he took office in June as Egypt's first freely-elected President, the report said.
According to the report, opposition groups have called for new nationwide rallies on Tuesday, and the Muslim Brotherhood has called for rallies supporting Mursi the same day, setting the stage for new violence.
In an interview with some prominent journalists, Nobel Peace laureate ElBaradei raised alarm over the impact of Mursi's rulings, saying he had become ‘a new pharaoh’.
"There is a good deal of anger, chaos, confusion. Violence is spreading to many places and state authority is starting to erode slowly," he said.
"We hope that we can manage to do a smooth transition without plunging the country into a cycle of violence. But I don't see this happening without Mr Mursi rescinding all of this," he added.
"I am sure they are as worried as everyone else. You cannot exclude that the army will intervene to restore law and order" if the situation gets out of hand,” speaking of Egypt's powerful military, ElBaradei said.
According to the report, ElBaradei and a six other prominent liberal leaders have announced the formation of a National Salvation Front aimed at rallying all non-Islamist groups together to force Mursi to rescind his edicts.
First Published: Sunday, November 25, 2012, 09:25