1- The presidential palace is boiling; advisers threaten to resign
Al-Masry Al-Youm has learned that the members of the Advisory Body to President Mohammed Morsi threatened to resign if his new constitutional declaration is not cancelled. Meanwhile, presidential sources said that during the two meetings held yesterday [Nov. 25] and the day before, these advisors were resentful over being left out of the declaration decision and said that if they had been consulted, they would have stopped it.
The sources added that the president explained to his advisers that there was confusion over the reasons behind the declaration, and that he was willing to address the people today [Nov. 26] to explain the issue. Morsi said he would listen to the judicial bodies to show the public that he does not intend to dominate the judiciary.
The office of the president said in a statement yesterday that the powers that the president granted himself in the declaration are temporary and are not intended to grant him absolute power.
For their part, the revolutionary forces and the political parties continued their mobilization for tomorrow's million-man demonstration in Tahrir Square to protest against the declaration under the slogan of "National Salvation.”
In contrast, the Muslim Brotherhood is mobilizing a counter million-man demonstration in front of Cairo University in support of the president.
On the other hand, Gen. Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, the minister of defense and military production, said that the armed forces will continue to play their role, which consists of “protecting the homeland and its stability.”
“The only allegiance of the armed forces is to the people and the land of Egypt, and our sacred mission is to defend the homeland and its national security both at the internal and external levels," he added.
2 - Stocks lose 30 billion [Egyptian] pounds, spur the worst drop since the January revolution
The stock indices took a collective dive in yesterday's trading session, thus leading workers in the securities industry to call it "Black Sunday," after stocks lost nearly 30 billion Egyptian pounds [$4,915,620,000] of their market value, weakened by Egyptian investors who panicked and rushed to sell their stocks following the violent political unrest that hit the country and the widening circle of clashes between hundreds of protesters and security forces in central Cairo.
The Egyptian [stock] Exchange benchmark index EGX30, which measures the performance of the top 30 active companies on the market, fell by 9.6% — i.e. 521 points — to reach 4,917 points. It led the worst drop since January 2011.
3 - Police bombs strangle Tahrir Square as separation wall returns to Kasr el-Aini Street
Yesterday, the streets around Tahrir Square witnessed clashes between security forces and demonstrators protesting against the Constitutional Declaration issued by President Mohammed Morsi last Thursday [Nov. 22]. The number of injured rose to 297, the Ministry of Health stated yesterday [Nov. 25]. They were all discharged except for 37 people who are still receiving treatment and health care in Cairo and other governorates.
Elements of the armed forces built a concrete separation wall at the end of the Kasr el-Aini Street on the Tahrir Square side in order to protect vital installations in the area, as a state of confusion prevailed around the square.
Clashes reignited in the square after security forces attacked protesters in the streets of Kasr el-Aini, Mohammed Mahmoud and in Tahrir Square itself. Security forces tried to disperse the crowd by opening fire in the air and firing tear gas canisters. Dozens of demonstrators fainted and most of them were transported to the hospital located in Talaat Harb Street. A large number of protesters suffered shrapnel wounds all over their bodies and were also transported to the same hospital.
The staff of Mugamma evacuated the building as gas spread inside. A large number of employees suffocated or fainted. The administration set off the alarm and required the staff to immediately evacuate the building.
Moreover, a gas tear canister was fired inside Sadat Metro Station in the Tahrir Square area, causing gas to disperse. Many people lost consciousness and the station was closed for a half hour.
4- Journalists: No to dictatorship
Echoing deep rifts among journalists, which escalated into fistfights among journalists belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood and others affiliated with secular forces, the general assembly of the Egyptian Journalists’ Syndicate ended its emergency session by rejecting the constitutional declaration that was issued by President Morsi on Thursday.
The general assembly considered the statement as a blatant attack on public freedoms, the rule of law, and the judicial independence.
The assembly convened to stress that freedom of the press and the journalists’ dignity are in danger. Also, the general assembly submitted eight recommendations, among which was a call for a general strike and support for the decision of the syndicate to withdraw from the Constituent Assembly, which is charged with drafting a new constitution.
The assembly announced that it will adhere to its previous demand to raise the minimum wage of journalists to 3,000 Egyptian pounds [$492].
It also stressed the danger of escalating moves against the freedom of the press and media, emphasizing the need to include fundamental guarantees for the freedom of press in the constitution. Most importantly, the general assembly urged that censorship of news and closure or confiscation of media outlets be prohibited under the new constitution.
Hundreds of participants in the assembly thronged to Tahrir Square in a peaceful demonstration to protest against the latest decisions of the president.
The assembly meeting fell into disarray when the syndicate’s chairman [Mahmoud al-Wali] entered the meeting hall saying that “the syndicate is for everyone, it will not be hijacked by Nasserists and leftists,” amid loud chants from journalists calling on him to step down. “Down with the rule of the supreme guide,” they shouted.
Former Chairman Galal Aref tried to defuse the tension within the assembly, warning against any rift among journalists.
“We ought to remain united in our struggle, as we can no longer afford to lose any more battles,” he said.
5- “Partial strike” in courts and prosecution offices
The call for a strike in courts and prosecution offices was partially implemented yesterday [Nov. 25], as courts suspended all work in response to the recommendations issued by Egypt’s Judges Club during its emergency session. Meanwhile, the Supreme Judicial Council urged all judges and their prosecutorial staff to proceed with their regular work. The council called upon President Morsi to limit its decision to sovereign acts only.
Works continued in all courts of the State Council, despite the fact that many lawsuits were filed to abolish the constitutional declaration. The call for strike was successful in most courts of Giza, Alexandria, Buheira, Dakhalia, Kafr el-Sheikh and Asyut. Meanwhile, most courts in Sharkia, Kaliobya, Demietta and Suez proceeded with their usual works.
Prosecution offices suspended their work entirely, except for cases of renewed detention. Meanwhile, prosecution offices in provinces have partially participated in the strike. However, they continued to issue burial permits, and carry out inspections in murder and collisions.
Moreover, 10 prosecutors resigned from their post yesterday, demanding to return to judicial work, including adviser Mustafa Suleiman — first attorney general of Cairo Court of Appeals, and head of the investigation team in the case of former President Hosni Mubarak.