Egypt’s most senior judges have condemned President Mohamed Morsi for granting himself sweeping new powers which they say amount to an “unprecedented assault” on the independence of the judiciary.
The supreme judicial council said work would be suspended in all courts and prosecution offices until the decree passed by the president earlier this week was reversed.
The announcement by the top judges, most of whom were appointed by former President Hosni Mubarak, came after tens of thousands of Egyptians took to the streets on Friday to protest against Morsi’s decree.
The judicial body had previously urged the president on Thursday to “distance this decree from everything that violates the judicial authority”.
The new edicts give the president near-absolute power and immunity from appeals in courts for any decisions or laws he declares until a new constitution and parliament is in place.
Opponents of the decree have called for a large-scale demonstration on Tuesday. In a second day of protests on the streets of Cairo on Saturday, activists threw rocks at riot police, while a few dozen people manned makeshift barricades to keep traffic out of Tahrir Square.
Leftwing and liberal parties have called for an open-ended sit-in aimed at “toppling” the decree.
“We are facing a historic moment in which we either complete our revolution or we abandon it to become prey for a group that has put its narrow party interests above the national interest,” the liberal Constitution party said in a