(CAIRO) — President Hosni Mubarak, ousted in a popular uprising, is currently serving a life sentence. Egypt’s first democratically elected leader is now Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. Just last week Morsi was credited with leading the effort to broker a truce between Hamas in Gaza and Israel, as the two sides traded rockets, missiles and bombs.
But shortly after winning accolades, Morsi granted himself extensive new powers and triggered protests in several Egyptian cities including the capital, Cairo, where protesters clashed with police. More than a hundred were injured.
One of the protesters, Haana Hamdi said, “He’s giving with one hand and taking with the other. Sorry mister President but we will not accept this.”
Morsi has opened the way for a retrial of people convicted of killings during Egypt’s 2011 uprising, which toppled his predecessor. But the decree bans challenges of his decisions and says no court can dissolve the constituent assembly which is drawing up the new constitution.
This is alarming to secularists, Christians and other reformists.
In a speech to his supporters, Morsi said, “I tell you I feel the heartbeat of the Egyptian people and understand what the Egyptian people want. I have a clear and irreversible legitimacy.”
In response to Morsi’s statements, the U.S. State Department issued a statement saying, “The decisions and declarations announced 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.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Paul Cruickshank and Michael Pearson, CNN