Famed Egyptian democrat declares 30-day emergency, threatens Army crackdown
posted at 8:31 am on January 28, 2013 by Ed Morrissey
Hey, remember when the man who ran Egypt ruled as a dictator with the excuse of continuing “emergency decrees” and had the Army as his hatchet men? Meet the new boss, same as the old boss:
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi declared a state of emergency and nighttime curfew across three major cities Sunday after violence raged for a third straight day, leaving nearly 50 dead and hundreds injured nationwide.
The deployment Saturday of government troops to the coastal cities of Port Said and Suez, which have seen some of the worst violence, failed to quell a public backlash against a court verdict and raised doubts about whether Morsi’s embattled government could contain the situation.
In a televised address Sunday night, the president said the state of emergency, which allows security forces to arrest and detain at will, would cover Port Said, Suez and Ismailia for 30 days.
Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood-controlled legislature granted the Army new powers of arrest today:
Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi approved a draft law on Monday, allowing the military to arrest civilians and assist police after at least 50 people died in anti-government protests.
The news broke when an anonymous source told Reuters the army would “behave like a police force.” The wire service said that means “detainees would go to a civilian and not military court.”
Well … at least for now. When courts continue their defiance of Morsi and his attempt to consolidate dictatorial power, expect the MB-dominated legislature to change the venue, too. The Global Post reports that the Port Said demonstrations related to death sentences for soccer fans who rioted and ended up killing a number of people, but the Washington Post has a better view of the calendar:
The strife in Port Said roughly coincided with the second anniversary of the uprising that ousted President Hosni Mubarak and with a swell of opposition to Islamist rule. In Cairo, Suez and Ismailia, clashes spawned by anniversary protests against Morsi’s government on Friday carried into Sunday, and opposition groups called for further protests Monday.
At the heart of the crisis is growing national frustration over the pursuit of justice two years after Mubarak’s fall. Egyptians across the political spectrum complain that the abusive security forces cultivated under his rule have evaded punishment for crimes committed during the uprising and since his ouster.
It seems as though Morsi has discovered why Mubarak kept those security forces around.
Meet the new boss … same as the old boss. Only the US and the West seem to be as easily fooled as the Egyptians who thought the Muslim Brotherhood would usher in a golden age of representative democracy.