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Analysis: Egyptians divided over new presiden -

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ELEANOR HALL: Let's go now to Egypt where violent protests are continuing against president Mohammed Morsi's move to put his political decisions beyond judicial review.

Already a teenager has died and dozens of people have been injured in the unrest.

But the country is divided, with thousands of people taking part in competing protests, some to support the president and the actions he says are to protect the revolution.

Martin Cuddihy prepared this report.

(Sound of sirens)

MARTIN CUDDIHY: On the streets of Cairo, protesters throw rocks and Egyptian police retaliate with tear gas.

(Voices chanting)

Violence has returned to the city since president Mohammed Morsi's constitutional declaration last Thursday.

Now the Courts can't overrule his decrees until a new constitution and parliament is in place, towards the middle of next year.

The president says it's a temporary measure, but anti-Morsi protesters are livid.

AMGAD MOHAMED (translation): We have not seen anywhere in the world, a president who holds legislative and executive powers, the army, the police force, and now he is fighting the judiciary system. His last decrees are creating a dictator that has not been seen before. We will not leave until Morsi and his regime leave.

MARTIN CUDDIHY: The president was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. When its offices in one town were attacked, a teenage member was killed and 60 others were injured.

The instability is being transferred into other parts of Egypt's society. Journalists are divided, with some believing it could affect their freedom of expression.

And now the judiciary has called for a nationwide strike of all the courts to pressure the president into reversing his decision.

But that has split the country's legal minds.

NASHWAY ESSAM (translation): I agree with the Supreme Judicial Council decision and I agree with the head of the council, counsel Ahmed el-Zend. They are defending the state of law and the sovereignty of the law and the separation between authorities. We will never live in a state of law unless each authority is separated from one another.

MOAZ EL BAZ (translation): I disagree with the decision of the Supreme Judicial Council. This is not the way to solve the crisis. Escalation will have the consequences of having more escalation from the other side. This is not the solution. The lawyers are heavily affected by this decision.

MARTIN CUDDIHY: The stock market too has taken a hit, with about $300 million wiped in one of the biggest losses since Hosni Mubarak was removed from power last year.

MOHAMED SAID (translation): The reason for the plunge of the benchmark is due to the political instability. We have no demand for buying. Everyone was selling and the benchmark stock index fell to ten per cent halfway through the first trading session.

MARTIN CUDDIHY: The main reason for the instability is article two of the constitutional declaration. Essentially, it prevents any legal challenge or judicial oversight of any presidential decision.

Adel Abdel Ghafar is an Arabic and Middle Eastern political specialist at the Australian National University.

ADEL ABDEL GHAFAR: In effect what he's saying is that the Supreme Court is staffed by much of Mubarak's judges and he's just trying to pre-empt any attack on the constitution down the line.

MARTIN CUDDIHY: There is an argument by pro-Morsi supporters that the judiciary is stacked with Mubarak-era judicial appointments. Is that the case?

ADEL ABDEL GHAFAR: That is the case but of course we cannot make a generalisation about the whole Egyptian judiciary but it is of course true that there are many elements of the old judiciary including in the Supreme Court that were appointed by Mubarak and if we remember actually the nullification of the Parliament, that was really spearheaded by the Supreme Court.

So again that's why he's trying to pre-empt any similar move to nullify the constitution and further challenge his rule.

MARTIN CUDDIHY: Do you think that what he's doing is in the best interests of democracy?

ADEL ABDEL GHAFAR: Opinions are really divided, it could be argued that indeed the clearing of the judiciary and standing up to Mubarak's henchmen is a good thing and people can perhaps withstand some, this centralisation of power just for a bit to get us through this period.

However this logic is a slippery slope, because what stops them in another six months from issuing another set of edicts giving himself further power.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Adel Abdel Ghafar from the Australian National University ending Martin Cuddihy's report.