Days before Egypt’s presidential runoff, the Egyptian Supreme Court has dissolved the newly elected parliament, handing power back to the military. The court also confirmed Hosni Mubarak’s former prime minister, Ahmed Shafik, can run for president against Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi. Protests have erupted in Egypt, with critics saying the decision is tantamount to a judicial coup. We go to Cairo for an update from Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous.
Acknowledging the riots and protests that have all but shut down Egypt for the past two weeks, the Egyptian government have caved to popular demands and given head bureaucrats 15% pay raises. Wait, what?
The Muslim Brotherhood declared early Monday that its candidate, Mohammed Morsi, won Egypt's presidential election, which would be the first victory of an Islamist as head of state in the stunning wave of protests demanding democracy that swept the Middle East the past year. But the military handed itself the lion's share power over the new president, sharpening the possibility of confrontation.
Mohamed Morsi was declared the new president of Egypt on Sunday, following the first democratic election in Egypt's history. The announcement triggered massive cheers and celebratory gunfire in Cairo's Tahrir Square. Authorities had been on "high alert" for potential violence if his rival Ahmed Shafik won. Instead, the huge crowd erupted in celebration -- even in scorching temperatures near 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 Celsius).
Egypt’s infamous state security apparatus, notorious for spying on political activists and torturing dissidents, has renamed itself “homeland security,” presumably in homage to its American namesake, which has also been used as a tool of political repression.
Egypt allowed at least one Israeli and 11 American warships to pass through the Suez Canal as an Iranian flotilla approaches Gaza. Egypt closed the canal to protect the ships with thousands of soldiers, according to the British-based Arabic language newspaper Al Quds al-Arabi.
Last week, traders in Cairo's Tahrir Square were selling chintzy pharaonic souvenirs and the odd t-shirt alluding to the Springtime ousting of Hosni Mubarak. Now, they're back to flogging scarves, gas masks and safety goggles. It's a sign of the times that means times aren't great.