Egypt's embattled president, Mohammed Morsi, defied a military ultimatum to address concerns voiced by millions of protesters who have taken to the streets in recent days. Today a gigantic crowd has assembled in Cairo's Tahrir Square calling for Morsi...
Update; 7:00 AM EST, July 4, 2013
Former president Mohamed Morsi is in military custody and some of his closest aides have been put under house arrest. Additionally, at least 38 leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood party have been arrested by the military, with no immediate reason given for their detainment. Yesterday, the military also shut down news channels thought to be sympathetic to Islamists, including the Muslim Brotherhood's channel Egypt 25 and Al Jazeera's station in Cairo. Adly Monsour was sworn in as president today.
Update: 4:05 PM EST
According to Egypt's state-run newspaper Al-Ahram, the military has told President Mohamed Morsi that he is no longer head of state. The Egyptian military will suspend the country's constitution provisionally and give presidential powers to the Chairman of the Supreme Consitutional Court, Adly Mansour, who will also decide when new elections will take place.
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Former President Morsi posted this statement to his Facebook page as the military deadline expired today:
"As I write these lines I am fully aware that these may be the last lines I get to post on this page.
For the sake of Egypt and for historical accuracy, let's call what is happening by its real name: Military coup.
It has been two and a half years after a popular revolution against a dictatorship that had strangled and drained Egypt for 30 years.
That revolution restored a sense of hope and fired up Egyptians' dreams of a future in which they could claim for themselves the same dignity that is every human being's birthright.
On January 25 I stood in Tahrir square. My children stood in protest in Cairo and Alexandria. We stood ready to sacrifice for this revolution. When we did that, we did not support a revolution of elites. And we did not support a conditional democracy. We stood, and we still stand, for a very simple idea: given freedom, we Egyptians can build institutions that allow us to promote and choose among all the different visions for the country. We quickly discovered that almost none of the other actors were willing to extend that idea to include us.
You have heard much during the past 30 months about Ikhwan excluding all others. I will not try to convince you otherwise today. Perhaps there will come a day when honest academics have the courage to examine the record.
Today only one thing matters. In this day and age no military coup can succeed in the face of sizeable popular force without considerable bloodshed. Who among you is ready to shoulder that blame?
I am fully aware of the Egyptian media that has already attempted to frame Ikhwan for every act of violence that has taken place in Egypt since January 2011. I am sure that you are tempted to believe this. But it will not be easy.
There are still people in Egypt who believe in their right to make a democratic choice. Hundreds of thousands of them have gathered in support of democracy and the Presidency. And they will not leave in the face of this attack. To move them, there will have to be violence. It will either come from the army, the police, or the hired mercenaries. Either way there will be considerable bloodshed. And the message will resonate throughout the Muslim World loud and clear: democracy is not for Muslims.
I do not need to explain in detail the worldwide catastrophic ramifications of this message. In the last week there has been every attempt to issue a counter narrative that this is just scaremongering and that the crushing of Egypt's nascent democracy can be managed. We no longer have the time to engage in frivolous academic back and forth. The audience that reads this page understands the price that the world continues to pay for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Egypt is neither Afghanistan nor Iraq. Its symbolic weight and resulting impact is far more significant. Last night, demonstrators at Cairo University supporting the President were fired upon using automatic weapons. Twenty people died and hundreds were injured.
There are people in Egypt and around the world that continue to try to justify the calls for early presidential elections because of the large numbers of demonstrators and the validity of their grievances.
Let me be very clear. The protesters represent a wide spectrum of Egyptians and many of them have genuine, valid grievances. President Morsi's approval rating is down.
Now let me be equally clear. Since January and again in the last couple of weeks the President has repeatedly called for national dialogue. Equally repeatedly, the opposition refused to participate. Increasingly, the so-called liberals of Egypt escalated a rhetoric inviting the military to become the custodians of government in Egypt. The opposition has steadfastly declined every option that entails a return to the ballot box.
Yesterday, the President received an initiative from an alliance of parties supporting constitutional legitimacy. He discussed it with the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence and all three of them agreed that it presented an excellent path for Egypt out of its current impasse. The initiative called for a full change of cabinet, a prime minister acceptable to all, changing the public prosecutor, agreement on constitutional amendments, and a reconciliation commission.
And let us also be clear. The President did not have to offer all these concessions. In a democracy, there are simple consequences for the situation we see in Egypt: the President loses the next election or his party gets penalised in the upcoming parliamentary elections. Anything else is mob rule.
In the last year we have been castigated by foreign governments, foreign media, and rights groups whenever our reforms in the areas of rights and freedoms did not keep pace with the ambitions of some or adhere exactly to the forms used in other cultures. The silence of all of those voices with an impending military coup is hypocritical and that hypocrisy will not be lost on a large swathe of Egyptians, Arabs and Muslims.
Many have seen fit in these last months to lecture us on how democracy is more than just the ballot box. That may indeed be true. But what is definitely true is that there is no democracy without the ballot box."
The Egyptian Army's official statement translated from Arabic by Al Jazeera:
The Egyptian Armed Forces first declared, is still declaring and will always declare that it stands distant from political forces. The Armed Forces, based on its insightfulness, has been called by the Egyptian people for help, not to hold the reins of power, yet to discharge its civil responsibility and answer demands of responsibility. This is the message received by the EAF and heard in all of the country.
In turn this call was heeded by the EAF, and it has understood the essence of this message. Before it has come close to the political scene adhering to its responsibility, the EAF over the past month has inserted efforts, direct and indirect to contain the situation within and achieve national reconciliation among all institutions, including the presidency.
Since the past, the army has called for national dialogue, yet it was rejected by the presidency in the last moment. Many calls, initiatives followed until to date. The EAF similarly on more than one occasion presented a strategic assessment domestically and internationally, which contained the most eminent (this part unclear).
The EAF as a patriotic institution to contain division and confront challenges and perils to exit the current crisis. As we closely monitored the current crisis, the command of EAF met with the president on June 2nd where it presented the opinion of the AF on the state of (the country) and (relayed) the cause of masses and Egyptian people. Hopes were all pinned on national conciliation. Yet, the address of the president yesterday and before the expiry of the 48-hour ultimatum did not meet the demands of the people.
As a result, it was necessary for the EAF to act on its patriotic and historic responsibility without sidelining, marginalising any party, where during the meeting a road map was agreed upon which includes the following:
Suspending the constitution provisionally; The chief justice of the constitutional court will declare the early presidential elections; Interim period until president elected. Chief Justice will have presidential powers; A technocrat, capable national government will be formed; The committee will offer all its expertise to review the new constitution; The Supreme Constitutional Law will address the draft law and prepare for parliamentary elections;
Securing and guaranteeing freedom of expression, freedom of media. All necessary measures will be taken to empower youth so they can take part in decision making processes. The EAF appeal to the Egyptian people with all its spectrum to steer away from violence and remain peaceful. The Armed Forced warn it will stand up firmly and strictly to any act deviating from peacefulness based on its patriotic and historic responsibility.
May God save Egypt and the honorable, defiant people of Egypt.
"His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs that the UAE is confident fully that the great people of Egypt is able to overcome the difficult moments current experienced by Egypt sister and starts out into the future of a safe and prosperous. He added that the history of Egypt's heritage and contributions of basic human civilization and its pivotal role at both the Arab and Islamic world all that sponsor that provides for its people pillar of a strong building prosperous future led to what looked to him people brother of progress and stability. His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Army Egypt Great proves again that he is already a fence Egypt and protector and shield strong, which guarantees it to remain a state of institutions and law, which embraces all the components of the Egyptian People's brother . concluded HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan statement stressing that the UAE is looking forward to constantly strengthen its relations with Egypt sister government and people and to take it forward to further close cooperation in various fields and to achieve the common interest of the two brotherly peoples."
Still from Al Jazeera Arabic's interview with Morsi, whose whereabouts are supposedly unknown:
Fireworks above Tahrir Square:
Photo via Sara_elkhouly, Instagram
Egyptian TV station ONtv's live stream:
Egypt's embattled president, Mohammed Morsi, defied a military ultimatum to address concerns voiced by millions of protesters who have taken to the streets in recent days. Today, a gigantic crowd has assembled in Cairo's Tahrir Square calling for Morsi's resignation. Other protests and demonstrations, including those in favor of the ruling Muslim Brotherhood party, are taking place throughout the city. Just over two years after the ouster of Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's fledgling democracy is in a perilous position. Watch VICE's live stream from Tahrir and check back for updates, dispatches, and photos.
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