To the street
Protests against the constitutional appendix issued by SCAF and the possible dismissal of the constituent assembly continued for the second week, reports Mohamed Abdel-Baky
On Tuesday Egypt's Administrative Court decided to postpone its ruling on the legality of the panel tasked with writing a new constitution.
The Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party and members of the hardline Salafist Nour Party led the current 100-member constituent assembly. If Cairo's Supreme Administrative Court orders its disbanding, under the terms of the appendix to the Constitutional Declaration it will be up to SCAF to appoint a new panel.
Supporters of the Brotherhood are protesting in both Tahrir Square and outside the Administrative Court's Doqqi headquarters. The latter has also attracted hundreds of anti-Brotherhood demonstrators. On Tuesday the rival sides spent the six hours during which the court pondered its decision hurling accusations at one another both outside the courtroom and in the public gallery.
The presiding judge, Abdel-Salam El-Naggar, had to twice suspend the session because of the disturbances. He told the crowd the court would not be intimidated and halted proceedings to allow the atmosphere to cool before reconvening with lawyers in a separate chamber.
"This court has always taken pride that its chambers are open to the public. But what happened in this chamber today, is such terrorism appropriate?" asked El-Naggar before announcing that the judgement would be delayed until Thursday.
Sobhi Saleh, a senior Muslim Brotherhood member, warned that disbanding the constituent assembly "would complicate the problem, not resolve it".
He threatened mass street protests should the court order the assembly dissolved.
In the last two weeks the Brotherhood has been using its much vaunted street presence to pressure SCAF to accept President Mohamed Mursi's 2 July decree reinstating the dissolved People's Assembly two weeks after the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) judged that it had been elected unconstitutionally.
After a parliamentary session on 3 July that lasted less than 10 minutes and was boycotted by most non-Islamist deputies the SCC issued a second judgement dismissing Mursi's presidential decree.
The Brotherhood and Nour Party's response was to organise the "Friday of Endurance", a protest in Tahrir Square last Friday that also attracted members of the Salafist Asala and Building and Development parties, supporters of disqualified Salafist presidential candidate Hazem Salah Abu Ismail and representatives of the 6 April Youth Movement.
Leftist and liberal parties boycotted Friday's demonstrations.
"We have no choice but to respect the SCC ruling dissolving parliament and as a consequence reject the president's order reinstating parliament. We could not participate in this protest," said Mohamed Abul-Ghar, chairman of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party.
Pro-SCAF supporters responded with a sit-in held on Friday in front of Nasr City's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Organised by the pro-SCAF Majority Movement, the demonstration was led by former MP Mohamed Abu Hamed to demand the immediate dismissal of the constituent assembly and the Shura Council, the full application of the appendix added to the constitutional declaration, the disbanding of all political parties based on religion and a ban on members of religious movements occupying senior government positions.
"Mursi, it is your duty to respect and protect the law and the constitution," read one banner raised by the protesters.