Protests by Islamists allied to Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi forced Egypt’s highest court to adjourn its work indefinitely yesterday, intensifying a conflict between some of the country’s top judges and the head of state.
The Supreme Constitutional Court said it would not convene until its judges could operate without “psychological and material pressure,” saying protesters had stopped the judges from reaching the building.
Several hundred Morsi supporters had protested outside the court through the night ahead of a session expected to examine the legality of parliament’s upper house and the assembly that drafted a new constitution, both of them Islamist-controlled.
The cases have cast a legal shadow over Morsi’s efforts to chart a way out of a crisis ignited by a Nov. 22 decree that temporarily expanded his powers and led to nationwide protests.
The court’s decision to suspend its activities appeared unlikely to have any immediate impact on Morsi’s drive to get the new constitution passed in a national referendum on Dec. 15.
Three people have been killed and hundreds wounded in protests and counter-demonstrations over Morsi’s decree.
At least 200,000 of Morsi’s supporters attended a rally at Cairo University on Saturday.
His opponents are staging an open-ended sit-in in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the cradle of the uprising that toppled former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in February last year.