Egypt`s Muslim Brotherhood backs President Mursi

Last Updated: Sunday, November 25, 2012 - 20:18

Cairo: Egypt`s ruling Muslim Brotherhood on Sunday called for nationwide demonstrations in support of Islamist President Mohammed Mursi, who has assumed sweeping powers in confrontation with the judiciary, as the deeply-polarised country braced for more clashes.

The day started with clashes in the morning between liberals who oppose Mursi`s decisions and have been camped out in the iconic Tahrir square since Friday and his supporters who tried to burn the sit-in tents down.

Egypt`s military erected a new wall near Tahrir Square as clashes continued between police and protesters angry at President Mursi`s Constitutional Declaration.

The crisis also struck the country`s stock exchange with share prices plunging almost 9.5 percent.

A statement issued by the Muslim Brotherhood asked its supporters to hold agitations this afternoon in all of Egypt`s main cities to "support the decisions of the President”.

It also announced a "Million Man" demonstration on Tuesday at Abdeen Square in Cairo to support Mursi.

Since Mursi made his announcement on Thursday, assuming far-reaching powers, at least 261 people have been injured in clashes in Cairo and elsewhere, media reports said.

The Brotherhood backed the President`s decree saying it was a necessary move to prevent the courts disbanding the Islamist-dominated panel drawing up a new constitution.

The judges slammed the President`s move yesterday denouncing it as "an unprecedented attack on the independence of the judiciary and its rulings" and calling for the courts to stop work nationwide.

Judges in two of the country`s 27 provinces, including Mediterranean metropolis Alexandria, heeded the strike call today.

Tahrir Square, one of the capital`s main road junctions, remained closed to traffic today as Mursi opponents pressed their sit-in.

Police fired tear gas as protesters who hurled stones on the third day of demonstrations opposing Mursi`s power-extending decree.

The US embassy warned Americans to avoid all places where demonstrations were likely to be held as Western concern over the violence in Egypt heightened.

The crisis hit Egyptian stocks as market suspended trading for half an hour after the main index exceeded the maximum rate of decline allowed under exchange rules.

Stock traders attributed the massive decline, which occurred in the first 10 minutes of the opening of the exchange, to the unrest caused by Mursi`s decree.

Nearly two years after popular unrest spurred former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak`s fall, people have taken to Egypt`s streets in past days to call for revolution again, this time for the ouster of "new pharaoh" Mursi.

On Thursday, Mursi announced that courts could not overturn any decree or law he has issued since taking office in June and, beyond that, in the six months until a new Constitution is finalised.

He also fired Egypt`s general prosecutor, who has been criticised for the insufficient prosecutions of those suspected in demonstrators` deaths in 2011.

Tents dotted Cairo`s iconic Tahrir Square, just as they did during the 2011 uprising, and clashes between protesters and police were reported yesterday and today in the capital, the port city of Alexandria and elsewhere in the country.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, November 25, 2012 - 20:18

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