Written By Kevin Dunne.
It has been almost two years since President Hosni Mubarak’s administration was overthrown in Egypt. Mubarak left office after turning back on his promise of constitutional reform and was tried for premeditated murder, fiscal irresponsibility, and damaging the country’s economy by shutting down telephone and internet services. Mohammed Morsi succeeded Mubarak as president, but any hope that Egyptians had of constitutional reform it seems, are faint. On Wednesday the 5th, fighting broke loose outside the presidential palace over the reform.
While it was reported that none died in the fighting, 126 people were injured as rocks, sticks, and even firebombs were hurled between the opposing groups of pro and anti-Morsi groups. Members of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood comprise the majority of the leader’s support, while his opposition is a conglomeration of Christians, predominately youth groups, liberal parties, and a bulk of the public. Morsi is being opposed due to claims that there is no difference between him and Mubarak’s dictatorial government. Morsi passed legislation that allotted him virtually unlimited powers and used said powers to speedily pass a hotly disputed constitutional draft. The constitution was written and passed by his Islamic allies, without any inclusion of other representatives.
Upwards of 300 protesters gathered around the palace in Cairo when thousands of Mosri’s Islamic supporters converged on the protestors and attempted to chase them off. The president’s opposition soon regrouped, in larger numbers, and proceeded to hurl insults back and forth with members of the Brotherhood. Things quickly escalated and rocks and firebombs replaced the barrage of insults and anti-sentiment. The number of Morsi’s supporters there grew to about 10,000 and spent the night setting up barricades around the palace. There have been many protests against the president recently, but the one on Wednesday proved to be one of the most violent.
Dialogue has been proposed that a vote on the constitution should take place on the 15th of December, but the opposition has called the proposal useless until Morsi relinquishes his powers and shelves the current constitution. Another reason the opposition refuses to engage in dialogue is because Mahmoud Mekki, the vice president, called for the dialogue, not Morsi himself.
In light of the controversy over the constitution, three of Morsi’s advisors resigned on Wednesday. Out of the 17 advisors on the panel, 5 have since quit since the initial power crisis began. Until the 15th, the future of the country seems unclear.