News24

Papers protest over Morsi 'dictatorship'

2012-12-03 11:07

Cairo - Egyptian newspapers on Monday protested against a disputed new constitution, some of them carrying dramatic front pages headlined "No to Dictatorship".

A cartoon of a newspaper in human form chained in a cell was pasted on the front of several independent papers including Al-Watan and Al-Masry Al-Youm with the line "A constitution that cancels rights and shackles freedoms. No to dictatorship".

The papers also declared that they would not go to print on Tuesday.

The move is the latest in a string of protests against President Mohammed Morsi who last week issued a decree expanding his powers and rushed through the adoption of a draft constitution at the heart of a political and ideological battle in the country.

The president's decree also barred any judicial body from dissolving the Islamist-dominated panel that drafted the charter.

The new constitution has been criticised for failing to protect key rights and for paving the way to a strict interpretation of Islamic law.

On Sunday, judges said they would boycott the 15 December referendum on the constitution, sharply upping the stakes of a standoff with the Islamist president.

The announcement by the Judges Club, which represents judges nationwide, came after Egypt's top court began an open-ended strike in the face of a mass protest outside the courthouse by Morsi opposed to their ruling on the legality of the panel that drew up the draft charter.

The standoff has polarised Egyptian opinion and sparked the biggest political crisis since Morsi assumed power in June as the country's first ever civilian president and its first elected leader since the overthrow of veteran strongman Hosni Mubarak in a popular uprising early last year.