Friday, remnants of Arab spring returned to Cairo days after Mohammed Morsi received credit from the U.S. and other countries for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas terrorists.
Egyptians took to the streets in mass, burning offices of the political arm of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood group in several cities on the Suez Canal east of Cairo and in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, according to a Fox News report.
At the same time, Islamists traded blows with Morsi opponents in communities of southern Egypt.
Morsi also called for a retrial of Honsi Mubarak, the last dictator in Egypt who was overthrown during the 2011 uprising and put to trial earlier this year.
State TV reported that protesters had torched Muslim Brotherhood offices in multiple cities, signaling growing opposition to the ruling Muslim Brotherhood as violence spilled into the streets.
Tens of thousands of angry pro-democracy activists converged on Cairo's Tahrir Square to protest decisions by Morsi. The presidential decrees include exempting himself from judicial review, and from rules of the new constitution and the upper house of parliament, as well as granting himself the power to enact “any other measure” he deemed necessary to deal with a "threat" to Egypt's "revolution."
Morsi's powers are supposed to be temporary - until a new constitution and new parliamentary elections take place – however the dictatorial sweep of power by presidential decree is feeding into public distrust and the notion that Morsi is blocking democratic reforms in state institutions.
"We are going ahead and no one can stop our march. We are not a fragile nation and I am carrying my duty for the sake of God and my country. I take my decisions after consulting with everybody," the president said, according to the website of the state-owned Akhbar al-Youm newspaper.
But many veteran activists who organized the uprising that led to Morsi’s presidency say his decree puts him on par with Mubarak, who claimed autocratic powers, ostensively, to lead Egypt to democracy.
For his part, Mohamed ElBaradei, former head of the U.N.'s nuclear agency, called Morsi a "new pharaoh." The president's former ally warned that Morsi risks starting a "civil war" by assuming such far-reaching powers. One of Morsi's aides, Coptic Christian thinker Samer Marqous, resigned to protest the "undemocratic" decree.
"This is a crime against Egypt and a declaration of the end of January revolution to serve the interest of the Muslim Brotherhood dictatorship," wrote Ibrahim Eissa, chief editor of daily Al-Tahrir. "The revolution is over and the new dictator has killed her. His next step is to throw Egypt in prison."