Egypt's crisis widens with planned march, strikes

CAIRO — Egypt's political crisis is widening, with plans for a huge march and a general strike today to protest the hurried drafting of a new constitution and decrees by President Mohammed Morsi that gave him nearly unrestricted powers.

Morsi also faces the prospect of wider civil disobedience as the media, the tourism industry and law professors pondered moves that would build on a strike by the nation's judges.

The planned strike and march raise new fears of unrest, threatening to derail the country's transition to democratic rule.

The country's judges have already gone on strike over Morsi's Nov. 22 decrees that placed him above oversight of any kind, including the courts'. Following those decrees, a panel dominated by the president's Islamist supporters rushed through a draft constitution without the participation of liberals and Christians.

Morsi has called for a Dec. 15 national referendum to approve the constitution.

An opposition coalition dominated by the liberal and leftist groups that led last year's uprising had already called for a general strike today and a large demonstration against the constitutional process and Morsi's decrees.

Hotels and restaurants are considering turning off their lights for a half-hour to protest against Morsi, according to the Supporting Tourism Coalition.

Also, Cairo University law professors petitioned their dean to let them stop teaching.

Protests over the draft constitution also spread to state television. On Sunday, presenter Hala Fahmy carried a white shroud while hosting a current affairs program, according to footage posted on the Internet. She was taken off the air.

Egypt's crisis widens with planned march, strikes 12/03/12 [Last modified: Monday, December 3, 2012 10:22pm]

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