Planned strikes and march raise new fears of unrest, threatening to derail the country’s transition to democratic rule.
Egypt’s political crisis is widening, with plans for a huge march and a general strike Tuesday to protest the hurried drafting of a new constitution and decrees by President Mohammed Morsi that gave him nearly unrestricted powers.
Morsi also faces the prospect of wider civil disobedience as media, the tourism industry and law professors pondered moves that would build on a strike by the nation’s judges.
The planned strikes and march raise new fears of unrest, threatening to derail the country’s transition to democratic rule.
“Egypt is a big ship in high seas, and no one should stop its captain from taking it to the shore,” said Morsi’s legal adviser, Mohammed Gaballah, defending his boss. “The ship must keep moving under any conditions.”
The country’s judges have already gone on strike over Morsi’s November 22 decrees that placed him above oversight of any kind, including the courts. Following those decrees, a panel dominated by the president’s Islamist supporters rushed through a draft constitution. Morsi has called for a December 15 national referendum to approve the constitution.
An opposition coalition dominated by the liberal and leftist groups that led last year’s uprising had already called for a general strike today and a large demonstration against the constitutional process and Morsi’s decrees. Newspapers plan to suspend publication, and privately owned TV networks will blacken their screens all day.