- (Photo: Reuters)
A U.S.-based group of advocates for the equality and rights of Coptic Christians plans to hold a demonstration in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, to condemn the power grab and other illegitimate measures taken by President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt, organizers stated Friday.
The Egyptian Front for National Salvation and Coptic Solidarity is upset by the fact that 10 days before the Supreme Constitutional Court was scheduled to issue its ruling on Dec. 2 in lawsuits regarding the legitimacy of the Constituent Assembly, Morsi issued a new constitutional declaration in which he arrogated to himself sweeping powers, and enabled himself to be shielded from legal challenge through the courts.
The solidarity group states that the day before the court's session, the Constituent Assembly, dominated by Islamists after the withdrawal of civil (non-Islamist) forces and Christians, rushed a new draft constitution considered to be a blueprint to establish a "theocratic state" and take Egypt centuries back. President Morsi immediately called for a referendum to be held on Dec. 15, ignoring even the mandatory delay needed to have a public discussion on the document.
Last Sunday, Morsi's Islamist thuggish supporters besieged the Supreme Constitutional Court and stopped justices from going in, Coptic Solidarity reported.
"The Constitutional Court was expected by many experts to dissolve the assembly as it was established on flawed basis," the group stated. "Islamists in the Constituent Assembly imposed their will throughout the drafting process, depriving women of their basic rights and seriously curtailing human rights and religious freedom."
This sequence of events sparked massive outrage in Egypt against Morsi, leading hundreds of thousands to take to the streets all over the country. The protesters demanded to revoke the latest constitutional declaration, disbanding and replacing the Constituent Assembly, and discarding the draft constitution. Some are demanding Morsi's removal from office.
Many Egyptian judges went on strike and announced they will not oversee the referendum.
On Friday, protesters against Morsi demonstrated outside the presidential palace in Cairo after breaking down a security forces' barricade. Initial reports say tens of thousands gathered near the palace after a call for dialogue by Morsi was rejected.
Morsi continues to appear as if he is not backing down.
The demonstration is planned from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET in front of the White House demanding:
1. Annulment of the constitutional declaration of November 22.
2. Cancellation of the referendum scheduled for December 15, and discarding the subject Constitution Draft.
3. Disbanding the Constituent Assembly and forming a new one which truly represents all segments of the Egyptian society.
4. Strongly demanding a constitution in total accord with all international agreements and conventions which guarantees women rights, human rights and religious freedom to all citizens equally.
About 10 percent of the 80 million people in Egypt are Christians, mostly Copts.
On the Web: http://www.copticsolidarity.org/