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Mursi faces judges’ rebellion

Cairo, Nov. 24 (Reuters): Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi faces a rebellion from judges who accused him today of expanding his powers at their expense, deepening a crisis that has triggered calls for more protests following a day of violence across Egypt.

Judges in Alexandria, Egypt’s second city, threatened to go on strike until it was revoked, and there were calls for the “downfall of the regime” — the rallying cry in the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak — during a meeting of judges in Cairo.

Mursi’s opponents and supports — representing the divide between newly empowered Islamists and a more secular-minded Opposition — have called rival demonstrations on Tuesday over his decree that has triggered concern in the West.

Issued late on Thursday, it marks an effort by Mursi to consolidate his influence after he successfully sidelined Mubarak-era generals in August.

It defends from judicial review decisions taken by Mursi until a new parliament is elected in a vote expected early next year.

It also shields the Islamist-dominated Assembly writing Egypt’s new Constitution from a raft of legal challenges that have threatened the body with dissolution.

Egypt’s highest judicial authority, the Supreme Judicial Council, said the decree was an “unprecedented attack” on the independence of the judiciary.

Youths clashed sporadically with police near Tahrir Square, the epicentre of the uprising that toppled Mubarak in 2011, following yesterday’s violence in which more than 300 people were injured across Egypt. Activists camped out for a second day in the square, setting up makeshift barricades to keep out traffic.

 
 
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