[Updates below original post and videos]
Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi granted himself powers with a decree, via a constitutional declaration, that puts him above any court, then used his new power to order the retrial of Hosni Mubarak.
So much for Democracy and the Arab Spring eh?
Ahram Online provides a translated version of Thursday's Constitutional Declaration.
We have decided the following:
Reopen the investigations and prosecutions in the cases of the murder, the attempted murder and the wounding of protesters as well as the crimes of terror committed against the revolutionaries by anyone who held a political or executive position under the former regime, according to the Law of the Protection of the Revolution and other laws.
Previous constitutional declarations, laws, and decrees made by the president since he took office on 30 June 2012, until the constitution is approved and a new People’s Assembly [lower house of parliament] is elected, are final and binding and cannot be appealed by any way or to any entity. Nor shall they be suspended or canceled and all lawsuits related to them and brought before any judicial body against these decisions are annulled.
The prosecutor-general is to be appointed from among the members of the judiciary by the President of the Republic for a period of four years commencing from the date of office and is subject to the general conditions of being appointed as a judge and should not be under the age of 40. This provision applies to the one currently holding the position with immediate effect.
The text of the article on the formation of the Constituent Assembly in the 30 March 2011 Constitutional Declaration that reads, "it shall prepare a draft of a new constitution in a period of six months from the date it was formed” is to be amended to "it shall prepare the draft of a new constitution for the country no later than eight months from the date of its formation."
No judicial body can dissolve the Shura Council [upper house of parliament] or the Constituent Assembly.
The President may take the necessary actions and measures to protect the country and the goals of the revolution.
This Constitutional Declaration is valid from the date of its publication in the official gazette.
Protestst immediately sprung up by those not exactly thrilled with having another dictator in charge:
Opponents and supporters of Mohammed Morsi clashed across Egypt on Friday, the day after the president granted himself sweeping new powers that critics fear can allow him to be a virtual dictator. At least 15 were reported injured.
In a sign of deepening polarization, state TV reported that protesters burned offices of the political arm of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood group on several cities on the Suez Canal east of Cairo and in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, while Islamists engaged with fistfights with Morsi opponents in southern Egypt.
Tens of thousands of pro-democracy activists meanwhile converged on Cairo's Tahrir Square, angered at the decisions by Morsi. The decrees include exempting himself from judicial review, as well as a panel writing the new constitution and the upper house of parliament, and the power to enact any other measure he deemed necessary to deal with a "threat" to Egypt's "revolution."
Some videos of the chaos that has ensued Morsi grabbing the very same powers that Egypt's citizens apparently thought they voted against.
Egyptian protesters storm the Muslim Brotherhood HQ in Alexa
Egypt Protests Brotherhood Offices Set Alight
Egypt erupts after President Morsi's power grab
Egypt Cairo civil unrest targets TV and university
Via Hot Air, Morrissey gets the quote of the day:
So we went from having a US-friendly dictator who managed to keep a lid on the Muslim Brotherhood and enforced the peace treaty with Israel, to having a dictator from the Muslim Brotherhood in charge of the Suez Canal. And the only people who couldn’t apparently predict this very outcome were the people in the White House proclaiming their foreign policy as “smart power.”
[Update] Via Wapo:
In the capital Cairo, security forces pumped volleys of tear gas at thousands of pro-democracy protesters clashing with riot police on streets several blocks from Tahrir Square.
Tens of thousands of activists massed in Tahrir itself, angered at the decisions by Morsi. Many of them represent Egypt’s upper-class, liberal elite, which have largely stayed out of protests in past months but were prominent in the streets during the anti-Muabrak uprising that began Jan. 25, 2011.
Protesters chanted, “Leave, leave” and “Morsi is Mubarak ... Revolution everywhere.”
“We are in a state of revolution. He is crazy of he thinks he can go back to one-man rule,” one protester at Tahrir, Sara Khalil, said of Morsi. “This decision shows how insecure and weak he is because he knows there is no consensus.”
They were revolutionaries when it came to overthrowing Mubarak but they are "troublemakers" now.
Funny how that works huh?
So far, I cannot find any White House reaction to Morsi's decree. I'll update if they decide it is comment worthy.
[Update] State Department issues a statement of "concern":
The decisions and declarations announced on November 22 raise concerns for many Egyptians and for the international community. One of the aspirations of the revolution was to ensure that power would not be overly concentrated in the hands of any one person or institution. The current constitutional vacuum in Egypt can only be resolved by the adoption of a constitution that includes checks and balances, and respects fundamental freedoms, individual rights, and the rule of law consistent with Egypt's international commitments. We call for calm and encourage all parties to work together and call for all Egyptians to resolve their differences over these important issues peacefully and through democratic dialogue.