Another issue casting a pall over the entire political scene is a miserable economy inherited from the Mubarak regime, one that has only worsened since the revolution. The chaos of the uprising dried up the flow of tourists, previously a considerable source of income, and many foreign investments. The country faces a massive budget deficit, crumbling infrastructure, soaring unemployment and rapidly declining foreign currency reserves. News of the decree and pictures of subsequent protests sent the stock market tumbling to its lowest rate since the revolution. And a controversial IMF deal that will probably lead to significant price increases could spark much more massive -- and perhaps violent -- protests.
But those gathered in Tahrir Square seemed steeled for the task ahead. "Don't discount this country or this revolution," said a young protester as she took a breadth from leading a cluster of protesters in boisterous anti-government chants. "We put Morsi in power and if we have to, we will take him out. We have people power and we will make this nation the greatest democracy on earth." The crowd roared in approval.