Morsi Declares Martial Law in Egypt 1 Year After Obama Praised Arab Spring’s ‘Moral Force of Non-Violence’

Penny Starr | December 10, 2012 | 4:51pm EST
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A wounded protester reacts during clashes between supporters and opponents of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi outside the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012. (AP Photo/Mostafa Elshemy)

( - On Sunday, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi issued a decree that allows the military to arrest civilians until the vote on a new constitution is over – just a little more than one year after President Barack Obama praised the Arab Spring as the “moral force of non-violence.”

In September 2011, Obama spoke at the United Nations in New York City, praising the uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya.

“One year ago, Egypt had known one president for nearly 30 years,” Obama said. “But for 18 days, the eyes of the world were glued to Tahrir Square, where Egyptians from all walks of life – men and women, young and old, Muslim and Christian – demanded their universal rights.

“In those protestors, we saw in those protestors the moral force of non-violence that has lit the world from Deli to Warsaw, from Selma and South Africa,” Obama said. “And we knew that change had come to Egypt and to the Arab world.”

In recent days, Morsi supporters and his opponents have battled outside his Cairo palace, resulting in at least six deaths and some 700 wounded, according to the Associated Press.

On Dec. 6, the White House issued a “readout” of Obama’s call to Morsi about the “deaths and injuries of protestors.”

“The President emphasized that all political leaders in Egypt should make clear to their supporters that violence is unacceptable. He welcomed President Morsi’s call for a dialogue with the opposition but stressed that such a dialogue should occur without preconditions.”

The readout also said that the “United States’ continued support for the Egyptian people and their transition to a democracy that respects the rights of all Egyptians.”

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