“This is a coup against legitimacy… We are calling on all Egyptians to protest in all of Egypt’s squares on Friday,” said Sameh Ashour, head of the Lawyers syndicate, in a joint news conference with leading dissidents Amr Moussa and ElBaradei. [Al Jazeera]

ONE EGYPTIAN professor said President Morsi “is erecting himself as an absolute monarch.” Under the guise to “protect the revolution,” Morsi is framing his new decree as also attempting to bring people to justice who are responsible for murders in the Mubarak era. Former director general of the IAEA and Nobellaureate Mohamed ElBaradei and other opposition leaders immediately denounced the power grab.

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Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi has issued a declaration giving himself greater powers and effectively neutralising a judicial system that had emerged as a key opponent by declaring that the courts are barred from challenging his decisions.

Morsi framed his decisions on Thursday as necessary to protect the revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak nearly two years ago and to cement the nation’s transition to democratic rule.

The decree, which dismissed Egypt’s prosecutor general, prompted opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei to accuse Morsi of usurping authority and becoming a “new pharaoh”. Other opposition figures called nationwide protests after what they termed a “coup”.