Top Egyptian Courts Suspend Work as Anti-Morsi Protests Rage

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Hundreds of Egyptians continued their demonstrations against President Mohamed Morsi for a sixth consecutive day as two of Egypt’s highest courts said they will suspend work in protest of his decrees.

Egypt’s Cassation and Appeals courts said Wednesday they would go on strike until the Supreme Constitutional Court rules on the president’s order granting himself immunity from judicial review.

The constitutional court has accused Morsi of an unjustified attack on its independence. In a statement released Wednesday, the court rejected charges made by the president that it is working to bring down his government.

Morsi and the judicial branch have been in a political tussle for nearly a week over whether courts can review the president’s powers. Tens of thousands of Egyptians turned out in Cairo’s main square and around the country Tuesday, accusing the president of acting like a dictator.

Morsi granted himself new powers in a November 22 decree that bars the judiciary from challenging his decisions. The president says the decrees are designed to protect state institutions.

Morsi later promised the Supreme Judicial Council that he will restrict his newly self-granted powers to “sovereign matters.” The vaguely worded statement, however, did not define the issues over which he would have absolute power.

Watch related video of anti-Morsi protesters in Cairo

Opposition groups are demanding that Morsi cancel his decree.

Police fired tear gas into a crowd of stone-throwing protesters Wednesday on a street near the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. Other demonstrators staged a sit-in at Tahrir Square, the epicenter of protests during last year’s ouster of Morsi’s predecessor, Hosni Mubarak.

 

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