Downtown Cairo was once again engulfed by revolutionary fervor over the weekend after President Mohammed Morsi of the Islamist group Muslim Brotherhood granted himself far-reaching, almost dictatorial, powers.
Demonstrations marking the 2011 ouster of former dictator Hosni Mubarak began the middle of last week. But on Thursday they intensified greatly when Morsi announced that he had granted himself immunity from scrutiny by Egypt's courts.
Just days after playing his role in the Hamas-Israel ceasefire, and being praised the world over for it, Morsi decided that Egypt's court can no longer hear appeals on his executive decisions. The decree gives Morsi near-absolute power.
Morsi also banned the courts from dissolving the committee currently working on Egypt's new constitution. The committee is dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists, and many Egyptians fear the result will be a constitution that imposes Sharia Law.
The hundreds of thousands of demonstrators who converged on Cairo's now-famous Tahrir Square said they had mistakenly replaced one dictator with another.
"A street war is looming," read the headline of Egypt's independent daily Al-Masry Al-Youm. An Egyptian source close to Israel today said the same thing, warning that civil war could be just around the corner.
For now, both the courts and the Egyptian opposition are refusing to discuss anything with Morsi or the Muslim Brotherhood until the new executive decree is rescinded.
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