Civil disobedience is expected to continue in Egypt after President Mohamed Morsi’s Nov. 22 decrees that place him above judicial oversight. The country’s media and tourism industries plan on joining in the protest.
Last week at least 200,000 protesters poured into Tahrir Square to demand the decrees be rescinded as the country’s judges went on strike. A massive rally at the presidential palace is planned for Tuesday.
Following the decrees, a panel dominated by the president's Islamist supporters rushed through a new draft constitution without the participation of representatives of liberals, the Christian minority, or women. Morsi then called a national referendum on Dec. 15 to approve the new constitution.
Newspapers plan to suspend publication on Tuesday while privately owned TV networks will go dark all day. The full front pages of Egypt's most prominent newspapers on Monday said: "No to dictatorship" on a black background with a picture of a man wrapped in newspaper and with his feet cuffed.
Hotels and restaurants are considering switching off their lights for half an hour on Tuesday to protest against Morsi, according to the Supporting Tourism Coalition, an independent body representing tourism industry employees.
The Islamists responded to last week’s protests with hundreds of thousands of protesters in Cairo's twin city of Giza on Saturday. Thousands took to the streets and imposed a siege on Egypt's highest court, the Supreme Constitutional Court.
The crisis has divided the country between Morsi and his Islamic fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood along with another ultraconservative Islamist group, the Salafis, in one camp and their opposition in the other—youth groups, liberal parties, and large sectors of the public.
The court had been widely expected to hand down a ruling on Sunday that would declare the constitutional assembly that passed the draft charter illegitimate and disband parliament's upper house, the Shura Council. But instead, the judges went on strike after they found their building under siege by protesters.
Three of Morsi's aides have also resigned over his decree. Two members of the official National Council of Human Rights quit on Monday, describing the decrees as "disastrous." They expressed "real fears" of Brotherhood hegemony in Egypt.
The new draft constitution has been criticized for not providing protection for women's and minority rights. Critics say it empowers Islamic religious clerics by giving them a say over legislation while some articles were seen as tailored to get rid of Islamists' enemies.
The draft has a new article that seeks to define what the "principles" of Islamic law are by pointing to theological doctrines and their rules. Another new article states that Egypt's most respected Islamic institution, Al-Azhar, must be consulted on any matters related to Shariah law, a measure critics fear could lead to oversight of legislation by clerics.
The country's highest judicial body, the Supreme Judiciary Council, agreed on Monday to oversee the voting in a step legal experts described as "routine" and not obligatory. And the electoral commission, led by senior judges, was forced by law to hold a meeting on Sunday to discuss preparations for the referendum.
But Judge Yousseri Abdel-Karim, a former spokesman of the electoral commission said that the commission's mission is administrative and the meeting does not mean that judges are going to oversee the referendum.
"Judges don't retreat and we fear nothing and we will not change our position," he said.