GLOBALPOST LIVE BLOG: MORSI OUT, EGYPT MOVES TOWARD UNCERTAIN FUTURE
UPDATE: 7/4/13 3:55 PM ET
The Guardian reports that as many as 300 members of the Muslim Brotherhood have been targeted for arrest, with Mohamed Morsi, who just yesterday was pushed out of the presidency, and some of his top aides already reported to be held by the military.
Interim President Adly Mansour promised earlier today to work with members of the Muslim Brotherhood during Egypt's political transition. Watch his first interview with the press, via Channel 4 News:
UPDATE: 7/4/13 2:08 PM ET
Egypt's future no easy win
These are heady days in Egypt. But it is too early to celebrate, argues Ahmed Ateyya, an Egyptian journalist and documentary filmmaker.
"Yes, the country is now recovering from a regime that forced a divisive constitution, bullied minorities and opposition, and used populist, fascist and religious rhetoric to justify its tyranny," he writes from Cairo.
"However, the pursuit of holding the army generals accountable for their involvement in killing, torturing, and sexually assaulting protesters in the past three years seems now more difficult than ever."
UPDATE: 7/4/13 1:45 PM ET
Whither the Islamists?
Agence France-Presse reports that an alliance of Islamist parties and movements — including ousted president Mohamed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood — will stage "peaceful protests" in Egypt on Friday in opposition to Morsi's removal.
As the military, opposition, and newly appointed leader seemed to be reaching out on Thursday, Islamists appeared defiant, Kristen McTighe wrote from Cairo.
She added: "The tone of reconciliation used by the opposition and military, however, was at odds with several realities: Islamist-run media was closed down, rumors circulated that warrants were issued for top Brotherhood leaders, and deposed president Mohamed Morsi reportedly remained under house arrest."
UPDATE: 7/4/13 12:16 PM ET
Report says supreme leader of Muslim Brotherhood under arrest
Agence France-Presse reports:
Egyptian military police on Thursday arrested Muslim Brotherhood supreme guide Mohammed Badie, a security official told AFP, as authorities rounded up members of the influential group from which ousted president Mohamed Morsi hails.
Badie "was arrested in (the western city of) Marsa Matrouh at the request of the prosecution for inciting the killing of protesters," the official said.
UPDATE: 7/4/13 11:11 AM ET
Morsi's removal good news for marketsPolitical turmoil has given an unlikely boost to the Egyptian stock market, which rose by over 7.3 percent on Thursday — its biggest climb in a month, as Business Insider pointed out.
UPDATE: 7/4/13 10:18 AM ET
Western powers react
Late on Wednesday, the White House responded to the major events in Egypt, with President Barack Obama saying in a statement that the US is "deeply concerned" by any moves away from civilian governance:
"The United States is monitoring the very fluid situation in Egypt, and we believe that ultimately the future of Egypt can only be determined by the Egyptian people. Nevertheless, we are deeply concerned by the decision of the Egyptian Armed Forces to remove President Morsy and suspend the Egyptian constitution. I now call on the Egyptian military to move quickly and responsibly to return full authority back to a democratically elected civilian government as soon as possible through an inclusive and transparent process, and to avoid any arbitrary arrests of President Morsy and his supporters. Given today’s developments, I have also directed the relevant departments and agencies to review the implications under U.S. law for our assistance to the Government of Egypt."
In contrast to the US, the European Union said it would not reconsider its aid to Egypt, so long as change proceeds in a democratic direction.
However, both the UK and Germany condemned the military tactics used to push through change in Egypt this week.
Egypt has promised free elections will be held, a move France also acknowledged today as a step in the right direction.
UPDATE: 7/4/13 9:45 AM ET
Starting over isn't easy
Many were jubilant after yesterday's removal of President Mohamed Morsi from power. Kristen McTighe shot this video of crowds celebrating in Cairo:
But celebrations aside, Egypt has a difficult road ahead as it seeks a new era of uncertain governance, and a troubled history weighing it down. While many may have wanted Morsi gone, that doesn't mean they wanted the army in charge. Read McTighe's report from Cairo to hear more.
Feeling short on context? Learn more from GlobalPost about the relationship between the army and the Islamists, Egypt's historical frenemies.
UPDATE: 7/4/13 9:05 AM ET
Egypt's interim leader sworn in
Judge Adly Mansour was sworn in as interim president of Egypt on Thursday, as deposed leader Mohamed Morsi remained under house arrest at an undisclosed location.
Mansour, head of Egypt's High Constitutional Court, swore the oath of office in front of Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court hours after Egyptian security forces moved to arrest and detain hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood leaders.
Mansour will remain president until a new election is held and while the country grapples with uncertainty over its future.
CBC reported that the new president saluted protesters, youth, and the military, and declared the era of dictators in Egypt over.
His short speech, parts of which were broadcast on Egyptian TV, was met with honking and fireworks in Tahrir Square — the epicenter of both the country's 2011 revolution and this week's protests.
Mansour reportedly told journalists after the ceremony that the Brotherhood, which has dominated Egyptian elections over the past two years, were part of the people and were welcome to help "build the nation."
UPDATE: 7/4/13 4:55 AM ET
Sexual violence still plagues Tahrir
"Horrific levels" of sexual violence and rape against women in Cairo's Tahrir Square have been reported amid protests linked to the toppling of the Egypt's president.
Human Rights Watch is among the groups that have condemned the attacks, calling on authorities to address a "climate of impunity" after the ouster of Egypt's first freely elected president, Mohamed Morsi.
Brutal attacks against women in the square are nothing new. GlobalPost's Middle East editor, Erin Cunningham, has long documented the sexual violence in Cairo.
UPDATE: 7/3/13 5:15 PM ET
Signing off for the day
What we know:
- President Mohamed Morsi has been ousted, the constitution suspended and parliament dissolved.
- Judge Adly Mansour, 68, has been named Egypt's interim president by the armed forces, which promised that presidential elections would be held.
- Islamist TV stations have been shut down, and staff are reportedly being arrested.
- Pro- and anti-Morsi protesters have clashed in Alexandria, according to Reuters.
- US officials said nonessential diplomats and families would leave Egypt amid the unrest, according to the Associated Press.
This live blog is now closed. Please check here for further developments.
UPDATE: 7/3/13 5:05 PM ET
The view from Tahrir Square
A packed Tahrir Square, where protesters first gathered in 2011 to overthrow former President Hosni Mubarak, erupted in ecstatic celebration with fireworks, cheers and flag-waving at Sisi’s announcement. They first began demonstrating June 30, to mark the anniversary of Morsi’s first year in power.
Morsi, the country’s first-ever elected leader, fell out of favor with a series of moves many Egyptians perceived to be for the benefit of the Brotherhood. Egypt’s economy is also near collapse, and power and fuel shortage contributed to rising popular anger.
“They listened to the people’s demands,” 59-year-old Magda ElMagreapy said from a café near Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo Wednesday night. “It’s a miracle.”
Read more of the reaction from Tahrir Square.
UPDATE: 7/3/13 4:50 PM ET
Morsi reacts to army's announcement
This video, released by the President's office shows Morsi reacting to the army overthrowing him.
Al Jazeera has the statement that accompanied the video:
Dr. Mohamed Morsi, President of Egypt, emphasizes that the measures declared by the Chief Command of Armed Forces represent a military coup d’état, which we categorically reject, in whole or part by all the honest honorable men who struggled for the transformation to democracy. The president stresses, in his capacity as the president of the republic and chief commander of armed forces, that all the citizens, civilians and militarians, leaders and soldiers, are required to adhere to the Constitution and law; not to respond to this coup which will throw Egypt back to the dark ages; and to maintain peaceful behaviors and avoid bloodshed.
UPDATE: 7/3/13 4:30 PM ET
Celebrations and arrests
The Associated Press posted this video of celebrations as the armed forces made their announcement:
Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports are filtering through of police arresting the staff of channels associated with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Judge Adly Mansour was named the head of Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court on Sunday, said Al Jazeera.
According to the roadmap, he will be in charge of managing affairs of the state and issuing constitutional decrees, effectively making him Egypt's interim president.
UPDATE: 7/3/13 4:12 PM ET
Morsi voices defiance on social media
Overthrown President Morsi took to Facebook and Twitter to criticize the armed forces roadmap.
A reporter for Al Jazeera tweeted that a message from Morsi calling for defiance was being broadcast from loudspeakers, since pro-Morsi TV channels were taken off air.
The Guardian pointed out that Egypt's second-largest Islamist party, the Nour party, was present at the armed forces announcement. It has declared its support for the political transition.
UPDATE: 7/3/13 3:50 PM ET
Morsi moved to undisclosed location
Ousted President Morsi has been moved to an undisclosed location, according to his aide Ayman Ali.
His Facebook page was updated with a statement that said Morsi rejected the armed forces roadmap as a "military coup."
The armed forces roadmap got backing from Muslim cleric Ahmed al-Tayeb, Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar, and Pope Tawadros, the head of the Coptic Church.
Mohamed ElBaradei, who was chosen to represent Egypt's political opposition, spoke after the roadmap announcement, calling for reconciliation.
UPDATE: 7/3/13 3:30 PM ET
Islamist channels go dark
Shortly after the defense minister made his announcement of the armed forces' political roadmap, all Islamist channels, including those affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, went dark.
The scenes of jubilation in Egypt as the announcement was made:
UPDATE: 7/3/13 3:20 PM ET
Defense Minister Gen. Abdel-Fattah Sisi announced that the Egyptian constitution had been suspended.
Sisi also said that the armed forces were dissolving parliament. The head of the Supreme Constitutional Court will manage the affairs of the state and will issue constitutional declarations. He will also oversee the formation of a technocrat government.
Early presidential elections will be held. Egypt will also prepare for parliamentary elections.
The army said it will join the police in arresting anyone who acts outside the law.
Guidelines will be drawn up for the media to ensure objectivity.
UPDATE: 7/3/13 2:56 PM ET
Army informs Morsi he is no longer president: report
Al Jazeera tweeted:
Al Ahram reported: "A presidential source tells Ahram Arabic that President Mohamed Morsi was informed by the army at 7 p.m. that he is no longer president."
The New York Times live blog noted that the same state news agency reported last year that former President Hosni Mubarak was "clinically dead."
UPDATE: 7/3/13 2:40 PM ET
Reaction from Tahrir Square
Kristen McTighe reported from Tahrir Square:
Ragda Mohamed came to the square with her husband. When she was out in the square, she said, "I'm so happy, it felt amazing, all the people are here to go against the Muslim Brotherhood."
On the military taking control, she said, "I just want them to protect us, to bring us the demands of the revolution. I'm afraid the army will want control again, but the people will stay in the streets"
She was watching the assault [taking place] next to us, I asked her what she thought about it.
She said it is just a few people, people from the streets who are responsible.
"Inside the square, in the middle, I feel safe. On the outskirts, I don't."
UPDATE: 7/3/13 2:25 PM ET
Leaders to announce roadmap
Egyptian state news agency MENA reported that Muslim and Christian clerics along with Mohamed ElBaradei, who was chosen as the opposition group's representative, will present plans for a political transition shortly.
The roadmap announcement comes after talks between Egypt's armed forces and religious, political and youth leaders. Reuters reported that generals and members of the Tamarod ('rebellion') movement will be present at the announcement.
Read more at Reuters.
UPDATE: 7/3/13 1:56 PM ET
Sexual assaults rampant
Kristen McTighe, who is in a cafe in Tahrir Square, told GlobalPost:
I just stepped in a Belady cafe on Tahrir because I was standing above the metro stop, and a fight broke out too, sexual assault is happening in front of me, I'm watching through the window.
I can't see if there is a girl inside, but everyone around me is saying that there is.
It's happening next to the stage, a group of men [are] fighting and there is a group of women hiding slightly [underneath] the stage.
Human Rights Watch published this report of sexual assault survivors from Egypt's protests:
As of Wednesday morning, at least 91 women had reportedly been sexually assaulted in the protests.
UPDATE: 7/3/13 1:45 PM ET
US Defense Department and State Department involved
The Pentagon said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had talked to Egyptian Defense Minister Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi on Tuesday.
Pentagon press secretary George Little is refusing to release any details about the content of the calls. He says U.S. officials at various levels of government have been very clear that America remains committed to the democratic process in Egypt and hopes the tensions there can be resolved peacefully.
The State Department said Wednesday that the US embassy in Cairo and the consulate in Alexandria had been closed in anticipation of the turmoil.
The State Department once again called on all sides to come to a political solution in Egypt.
Meanwhile, Kristen McTighe who is in the thick of Tahrir Square said an army chopper is making loops while fireworks explode.
CNN's Ivan Watson, based in Istanbul, tweeted this pictures:
UPDATE: 7/3/13 12:55 PM ET
Coup already underway?
The army has yet to make an official statement, but with a travel ban imposed on Morsi, Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie, his deputy Khairat el-Shater (according to airport officials), and tanks on the street, it seems events on the ground are unraveling fast.
And this was the scene near the presidential palace:
UPDATE: 7/3/13 12:40 PM ET
Morsi's situation unclear
According to Reuters, Morsi worked at a presidential office in a Republican Guard compound in Cairo on Wednesday. An aide to Morsi told Reuters it was unclear if the president would be able to leave and return to the presidential palace.
Meanwhile, tension is high in the rest of Egypt.
Kristen McTighe is in Tahrir Square:
The BBC's Jeremy Bowen appears to be near Cairo University:
The New York Times' Kareem Fahim is near Nasr City:
UPDATE: 7/3/13 12:22 PM ET
Army vehicles on the move: reports
Journalists on the ground are reporting seeing movement of soldiers and military vehicles in Egypt:
UPDATE: 7/3/13 11:50 AM ET
Morsi advisor calls events "military coup"
President Morsi's national security advisor Essam El-Haddad wrote in a statement on Facebook that the current events unfolding in Egypt are a "military coup."
The statement continued: In this day and age no military coup can succeed in the face of sizable popular force without considerable bloodshed. Who among you is ready to shoulder the blame?
The New York Times' Cairo Bureau chief tweeted:
UPDATE: 7/3/13 11:42 AM ET
Celebrations continue in Tahrir Square
Anti-Morsi protesters continued to celebrate in Tahrir Square as they awaited the army's statement.
The reaction among Gulf Arab states to Egypt's turmoil has been decidedly sober.
"Gulf Arab rulers are resisting the temptation to gloat in public about the political woes of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, a group most of them mistrust, for fear of deepening unrest in a country that remains a potential ally in their standoff with Iran.
"Officials and analysts said official Gulf Arab silence reflected a longstanding belief among the mainly small, U.S.-allied Sunni Muslim-ruled oil producers that their security is closely linked to that of Egypt, the most populous country in the Arab World, which is also Sunni."
UPDATE: 7/3/13 11:30 AM ET
500 Marines in position to respond to Egypt
Military magazine Stars and Stripes said 500 crisis-response Marines, recently deployed to Italy and Spain, were in position to respond to the turmoil in Egypt.
"Pentagon spokesman George Little wouldn’t speak about Egypt or the U.S. Embassy in Cairo specifically, but said the military was postured for response in that region in particular.
“We have taken steps to ensure our military is ready to respond to a range of contingencies,” he said."
Read the full report here.
UPDATE: 7/3/13 11:12 AM ET
Awaiting a statement from the army
NBC's Richard Engel tweeted:
Meanwhile, Morsi has not backed down, proclaiming the legitimacy of his government (he used the term 56 times in his speech on Tuesday).
As the Guardian noted, though Morsi repeated an offer for a national coalition government, he did not accept that there was consensus among Egyptians.
According to David Hearst, Morsi said:
A scenario that some people are trying to impose on the Egyptian people, has no consensus amongst the Egyptian people and there are large masses who do not accept it. It will cause chaos in the process of building institutions that has already started. those who believe that Egypt can go back and destroy the legitimacy are mistaken.
These people who believe that imposing their legitimacy by force on the great Egyptian people, the Egyptian people who were so eager for freedom and sacrificed blood for it, those people can not accept that imposition.
UPDATE: 7/3/13 10:50 AM ET
Morsi makes a statement
President Morsi posted a statement on Facebook after the deadline for the armed forces' ultimatum expired.
Al Jazeera's correspondent tweeted:
And this comes from Iranian semi-official news agency FARS:
UPDATE: 7/3/13 10:35 AM ET
UPDATE: 7/3/13 10:30 AM ET
Both pro- and anti-Morsi rallies wait
Tahrir Square looked packed in anticipation of the armed forces' deadline for their ultimatum approaching.
UPDATE: 7/3/13 10:15 AM ET
Egypt's army meets with religious, political & youth figures
The Egyptian armed forces' general command is reportedly meeting with religious, national, political and youth figures, according to its official Facebook page.
As translated by Reuters: "The General Command of the Armed Forces is currently meeting with a number of religious, national, political and youth icons ... There will be a statement issued from the General Command as soon as they are done"
UPDATE: 7/3/13 10:00 AM ET
Egypt in numbers
It is now 30 minutes until the armed forces' deadline for compliance with their ultimatum expires.
Here is where Egypt stands:
18 people have been killed in clashes
300 others have been injured
91 women have reportedly been sexually assaulted in the protests
It remains unclear whether forces friendly to Morsi are in charge of state TV, as there are conflicting reports.
The Muslim Brotherhood's political branch refused to meet with the armed forces ahead of the deadline.
State TV reported that Giza's governor had resigned.
UPDATE: 7/3/13 9:45 AM ET
Statement from the opposition
The opposition group in Egypt, a coalition including the June 30 Front (Tamarod) and ElBaradei's Dostor party, have released a statement.
We are the People of Egypt. We have spoken, and we demand to be heard. Democracy is not merely an election. The President and his supporters have chosen alienation and divisiveness. We the people of Egypt choose another path, a path that has brought together Egyptians from all walks of life, women and men, Christian and Muslim, young and old, conservative and progressive, north south east and west. All of Egypt including the military, the government, the judiciary, the police, Al Ahzar and the Church have come together the serve the people. The people will not be exploited again.
When a government’s legitimacy is called in to question, and millions take to the street demanding to be heard, a government of the people would listen. Instead Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood have chosen to dig in their heels and attempted to paint dissenters as thugs and criminals; a strategy that has served them well in the past, but has brought the nation to the brink. Most of the Islamist bloc has joined the call for early election. Morsi’s support has diminished to only the Muslim Brotherhood, those who will directly profit from his tight grip on power. The people of Egypt have made it clear, they want a government that represents them with all their diversity, and not just a government comprising of a single party. The time of one party rule is gone.
The people have come together to put a stop to the policies of the Muslim brotherhood, which threaten to turn Egypt into a failed state and become a breeding ground for Islamic Jihadist. We call on the Military to protect the Egypt’s National Security from the threat of civil war. We call on the police to arrest those who incite to violence, and the perpetrators of violence. We call on the international community to hear the call for across Egypt, we will not be threatened into submission by a President or his men again.
Other groups included in the signatories include: Masr El Horayah Party (Free Egypt Party), Masreen El Harrar ( Free Egyptian Party), Tayar El Shaaby (People Current Party), Masr El Democratic El Ektamai (Egyptian Social Democratic Party)
UPDATE: 7/3/13 9:30 AM ET
Republican Guards take over state TV building
The Guardian's Egypt correspondent tweeted:
The Muslim Brotherhood is expected to hold a press conference shortly.
UPDATE: 7/3/13 9:10 AM ET
Morsi would rather die 'standing like a tree'
A spokesman for Morsi told Reuters the president would rather die "standing like a tree," defending the legitimacy of the democratic system and his office, than give in to the military.
"It is better for a president, who would otherwise be returning Egypt to the days of dictatorship, from which God and the will of the people has saved us, to die standing like a tree," said Ayman Ali. "Rather than be condemned by history and future generations for throwing away the hopes of Egyptians for establishing a democratic life."
Read more at Reuters.
UPDATE: 7/3/13 9:00 AM ET
The coup begins?
BBC and NBC sources are tweeting reports that the army has already taken over the state TV building in Egypt:
UPDATE: 7/3/13 8:45 AM ET
Did Sisi met ElBaradei?
There are conflicting reports about a supposed meeting between the head of the armed forces and one of the opposition's leading figures. According to the AP, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is in talks with Mohamed ElBaradei, the Grand Sheikh of Al-Azkar mosque, Ahmed al-Tayyeb, and Coptic Pope Tawadros II.
Egyptian media cites a statement from ElBaradei's Dostour Party as accusing the president of sowing divisions and asking the army to "protect the lives of Egyptians after Morsi lost his mind and instigated bloodshed."
However, state news agency MENA has denied the meeting ever took place.
UPDATE: 7/3/13 8:20 AM ET
Do Egyptians want military rule?
GlobalPost asked Egyptians in Cairo what they expect, hope and fear will happen once the clock strikes 5 PM.
“I want for the military to take control, at least for one or two years,” says Baher Zaki, the manager of a tourist agency.
“They are the only ones who can restore Egypt and bring us stability again — that is what we want. I love Egypt and I trust that the military loves Egypt more than anyone else.”
Mahmoud Abd El Reheem, 23, disagrees: “If anyone wants to remove Morsi, they have to go the right way — through elections.
“We have come a long way in two years. And I’m afraid that we are going back that the military regime is going to come back.”
Read the full report here.
UPDATE: 7/3/13 8:10 AM ET
Want to know the second the deadline expires? Here's a handy counter that'll show you the hours, minutes and seconds remaining until the army's ultimatum reaches its limit.
UPDATE: 7/3/13 7:45 AM ET
Meetings, meetings and more meetings
Reports say just about everyone has been meeting everyone else in the run-up to today's deadline.
• The head of the armed forces, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, is meeting with opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei, as well as Egypt's top Muslim cleric and the Coptic Pope, according to the AP.
• The armed forces general command is holding crisis talks, a military source tells Reuters.
• President Morsi met with General Sisi yesterday but couldn't come to an agreement. A Muslim Brotherhood source tells the Guardian that Morsi offered a series of concessions — not including his resignation — only to see them rejected.
UPDATE: 7/3/13 5:40 AM ET
Islamist conservatives call for early elections
Ultra-conservative Islamist movement Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya wants Morsi to call early presidential elections and "spare blood," one of the group's senior members has told Reuters.
"We find ourselves faced with the necessity of convincing the president to accept a referendum on early presidential elections," Tarek al-Zumar said in a phone interview. "This is what we hope will be reached in the next few hours."
Will Morsi take his hardline allies' advice? Not unless he's changed his mind since last night.
UPDATE: 7/3/13 4:18 AM ET
Does Egyptian state media know something we don't?
Today's edition of Al Ahram, Egypt's government-owned newspaper, reports that President Morsi will either resign or be sacked when the military's deadline expires, at 5 PM Cairo time.
According to the paper, the military plans to replace him with a transitional government led by someone from the armed forces, which will rule until a new presidential election is held.
Who knows how reliable their sources are, but the irony of a state-run paper preempting the president's removal hasn't been lost on commentators.
UPDATE: 7/3/13 3:35 AM ET
'The Final Hours'
It's now just over seven hours until the army's ultimatum expires. Morsi shows no sign of backing down, but neither does the military.
Reuters translates a post on the Facebook page of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), titled 'The Final Hours' and purportedly written by the charismatic head of the armed forces, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi:
"It is an honour for us to die rather than that anyone should terrorise or threaten the Egyptian people. We swear to God, we will sacrifice even our blood for Egypt and its people to defend them against any terrorist, radical or fool. Long live Egypt and its people."
It was published shortly after President Morsi gave his speech last night, and appears to be a response to his pledge to "sacrifice his blood" if necessary.
UPDATE: 7/3/13 2:45 AM ET
At least 16 killed overnight
Morsi may have promised to sacrifice his blood for the homeland, but it was protesters' blood that was shed. Egypt's health ministry says at least 16 people were killed and 200 injured in an apparent shooting near Cairo University.
CNN has video in which gunshots can be heard:
These deaths come on top of at least seven others reported since June 30.
UPDATE: 7/3/13 1:40 AM ET
In a late-night speech on Egyptian TV, President Morsi told Egypt that he is its "guardian of legitimacy." And guardians of legitimacy don't resign.
According to The Guardian's translation, Morsi said:
"If the price for safeguarding legitimacy is my blood, then I am prepared to sacrifice my blood for the cause of safety and legitimacy of this homeland. Do not be fooled. Do not fall into the trap. Do not abandon this legitimacy. I am the guardian of this legitimacy.
"This is a defining moment when I say I adhere to legitimacy and only legitimacy. The constitution and only the constitution."
That's some pretty heady rhetoric, and some commentators fear it sets the stage for a violent day Wednesday.
UPDATE: 7/2/13 5:00 PM ET
Morsi calls on SCAF to withdraw ultimatum
President Morsi responded to the widespread protests and armed forces' ultimatum with this:
The following has been translated for clarity: #MuhammedMorsi # President Mohamed Morsi confirms its adherence to constitutional legitimacy and rejects any attempt to get out by armed Adawarult withdraw warning rejects any dictates Dakhlahooforeigh(@MuhammadMorsi) July 2, 2013
Here is an English translation from a member of Morsi's Freedom and Justice Party:
UPDATE: 7/2/13 4:45 PM ET
Festive atmosphere as protests continue into the night
Despite reports of clashes, reporters and bloggers on the ground near the Qobba presidential palace in Heliopolis reported a festive atmosphere, according to The New York Times.
Ahram Online reported, "At a nearby underground metro station, crowds are so large the station workers have opened the metro barriers to allow people to exit more easily."
Bassem Sabry, a political consultant and blogger who was near Qobba, noted on Twitter that unlike the pro-Morsi protests, the ones against the president were "fully spontaneous and diverse."
And the scene in Tahrir, from Al Jazeera's correspondent:
UPDATE: 7/2/13 4:10 PM ET
Death toll rises to 7
The BBC cited Egyptian Health Ministry sources saying seven people had been killed in clashes between pro- and anti-Morsi protesters in Giza.
Meanwhile, Egyptian TV said the president was set to give a statement with the military.
And then the military promptly denied any such joint statement:
The armed forces' roadmap would see a suspension of the constitution, a dissolution of parliament and the appointment of an interim council.
Reuters' Jim Roberts tweeted this picture:
UPDATE: 7/2/13 3:53 PM ET
Ministry of Health confirms 4 deaths
The Wall Street Journal's Matt Bradley tweeted an update on the situation:
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces reiterated that it would stick to the ultimatum that it gave President Morsi. The Guardian reported:
"The military command again claimed that the widely anticipated events would not amount to a military coup. However, according to details of a roadmap for ending the crisis, obtained by Reuters, military commander Abdul Fatah al-Sisi would play a central role in the country's affairs, installing an interim council of civilians and delaying parliamentary elections until a new constitution was drafted. A senior military source said that scenario was the most likely among those being discussed."
Here's a countdown clock to when the deadline approaches.
Reuters reported on the grievances that have contributed to the mass protests:
This picture reportedly shows Tahrir Square tonight:
UPDATE: 7/2/13 3:25 PM ET
Whose side is the military on?
Al Jazeera's Sherine Tadros reported from Tahrir Square: “People here have no doubt the army is on their side... and as the military’s deadline approaches their screams demanding Morsi resign are growing louder and the window of opportunity to offer concessions is closing.”
GlobalPost's Middle East editor Erin Cunningham asked, why is Egypt's military entering the fray now?
The increasingly dangerous level of political polarization and potential for violence, coupled with the sheer size of the demonstrations, are likely what prompted the military to weigh in, analysts say.
The army, its reputation tarnished in some circles for bloody crackdowns and authoritarian-style governance, is also eager to reassert its image as the nation’s savior in times of turmoil.
“The military understands that it is once again in a privileged position within Egyptian politics,” said Hani Sabra, Middle East analyst at the New York-based Eurasia Group, a global political risk firm. “All sides need it more than the military needs them.”
The BBC's Middle East Bureau chief Paul Danahar tweeted:
UPDATE: 7/2/13 3:06 PM ET
2 dead in clashes
CBC's Middle East correspondent tweeted:
Al Jazeera said the two people were killed by "live fire," which also injured 13 others, in the Kit Kat district of Giza. The wounded were taken to hospitals in Imbaba and Agouza.
The New York Times live blog cited these two reports of clashes:
UPDATE: 7/2/13 2:45 PM ET
Reports of clashes
The BBC tweeted this picture of competing pro- and anti-Morsi rallies:
Operation Anti-Sexual Harassment, a volunteer group, reported over 46 cases of "mob sexual harassment," according to Foreign Policy.
Al Jazeera's correspondent tweeted:
GlobalPost reported on the increasing sexual violence in February:
Violent mobs of sometimes hundreds of men have contributed to an uptick in violations against women in the square in recent months, culminating in the highest-ever number of sexual incidents at a protest on the recent Jan. 25 anniversary of Egypt’s uprising. On that day, at least one of the 19 victims was forced to undergo surgery. Her genitals were sliced with a knife, health officials said.
UPDATE: 7/2/13 2:18 PM ET
Reports of clashes
Al Jazeera's correspondent in Cairo said there were some reports of clashes in Cairo and Giza between pro- and anti-Moris protesters.
The New York Times' reporter Kareem Fahim tweeted this picture:
McClatchy newspapers' Middle East Bureau chief Nancy Youssef was tweeting about gunfire in Giza:
UPDATE: 7/2/13 2:00 PM ET
State Department clarifies reports
At a daily press briefing, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said reports that the Obama administration was calling for early elections were inaccurate.
She also said the State Dept. would not speculate on deadlines set by the Egypt military.
Taking a neutral tone, Psaki said the US was on neither Morsi or the opposition's side. "We're encouraging all sides to communicate and talk to each other," she said, calling on the authorities to listen to the Egyptian people.
UPDATE: 7/2/13 1:20 PM ET
Are there pro-Morsi protesters?
The Muslim Brotherhood's official Twitter account tweeted a photo Tuesday:
The photo was criticized by other Twitter users as misleading, because it was from June 21.
As the Guardian live blog pointed out, however, that doesn't mean there are no pro-Morsi rallies going on.
UPDATE: 7/2/13 1:12 PM ET
ElBaradei to lead opposition group
Mohammed ElBaradei, the former chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency and presidential candidate, was chosen by the main opposition group, the June 30 front, to lead negotiations with the Morsi government.
Agence France-Presse said that ElBaradei was designated by the umbrella group, which includes Tamarod, to "be the voice" of the opposition.
The Tamarod, or 'rebellion,' said before the protests that it had amassed more than 15 million anti-Morsi signatures.
Kristin Tighe wrote for GlobalPost last week about Egypt's "rebels":
In a deeply polarized country, the grassroots campaign has harnessed growing frustration and discontent to unite a fractured opposition.
“Because security has not returned, because the poor have no place, because I have no dignity in my own country,” the petition reads. “We don’t want you anymore."
The petition’s signatories cite a range of grievances, from Egypt's faltering economy and political paralysis, to fuel shortages, rising food prices and a lack of security. Others like Naguib say the abuse and repression that persisted under Mubarak have continued, making the fight profoundly personal.
“He has done nothing, he’s only helped his own people,” Naguib, who is a member of the Tamarod coordinating committee, said from the downtown Cairo apartment that serves as their headquarters.
Naguib says she was shot in the back while protesting during Egypt’s 18-day uprising in 2011. “We will finish our revolution,” she said.
UPDATE: 7/2/13 12:45 PM ET
Where the Egyptian armed forces' roadmap could lead
Reuters, citing military sources, said a draft of the political roadmap the Egyptian armed forces would adopt if Morsi and the opposition failed to meet the 48-hour deadline would include:
- suspending the constitution
- dissolving the Islamist-dominated parliament
- installing an interim council composed primarily of civilians to run the country
- holding presidential elections
- holding parliamentary polls, but only once strict conditions for candidate selection were in place
The sources told Reuters that the roadmap would be amended depending on consultations. Adli Mansour, the new president of the constitutional court, is one of the figures being considered as an interim head of state. The full report can be found on Reuters.
A Pew Research Poll conducted in March showed the Egyptian public's sentiments about their constitution:
UPDATE: 7/2/13 12:23 PM ET
Egypt's Jon Stewart weighs in
Bassem Youssef, the comedian heralded as Egypt's Jon Stewart for his sharp political satire, tweeted about the protests on Tuesday (h/t):
Youssef made international headlines in April when Egypt's judiciary summoned him for questioning. He was charged with insulting the president and Islam, but released on $2,200 bail as investigations continued.
UPDATE: 7/2/13 11:50 AM ET
Military coup or...
Daniel Williams, a senior researcher in the Emergencies Division of Human Rights Watch, wrote last year for GlobalPost about Egypt's armed forces, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces:
"The SCAF presented itself as the shepherd of Egypt’s transition to democracy. Instead, SCAF trampled rights of Egyptians across the board, repressing speech and public gatherings and preserving an unfair justice system."
For Egypt watchers, the current scenario is deja vu all over again. This report is from last June:
"When the army rolled into the streets atop tanks during the uprising, though vowing not to fire on protestors in their bid to topple the regime, Egyptians euphorically embraced the soldiers as allies in the fight.
As Egyptians saw themselves embarking on a new era of representative democracy, the ageing generals eased Mubarak from power in February 2011, subsequently styling themselves as the custodians of Egypt’s fledgling democracy.
“Circumstances forced the army to take on this role, until the parliament and the constitution both came into force,” said retired Brig. Gen., and military analyst, Mohamed Kadry said.
But since then, the army has battled with pro-democracy activists and Egypt’s largest political party, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, to retain key privileges for the armed forces in a new constitution."
UPDATE: 7/2/13 11:30 AM ET
Journalists in danger
The Committee to Protect Journalists has expressed concern about the safety of journalists covering the mass protests in Egypt.
So far, news reports have said one journalist was killed and seven others were injured while covering the demonstrations. One was reportedly raped.
"Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood have fostered an atmosphere where journalists are attacked with impunity," said Sherif Mansour, CPJ's Middle East and North Africa coordinator. "We call on all sides to respect the safety of the media and urge journalists to take precautions for their security in this dangerous climate."
Groups like Tahrir Bodyguard have sprung up to protect female protesters after increasing reports of sexual violence.
UPDATE: 7/2/13 11:00 AM ET
Obama administration pushing for early elections
In a shift of tone, the Obama administration is calling on President Morsi to hold early elections. Senior administration officials told CNN that the US has warned the Egyptian military against a military coup, at risk of losing aid.
The officials did not, however, say Morsi should step down immediately.
"We are saying to him, 'Figure out a way to go for new elections,'" one senior official said, according to CNN. "That may be the only way that this confrontation can be resolved."
This video reportedly shows the crowds in Tahrir Square on Tuesday:
UPDATE: 7/2/13 8:11 AM ET
Morsi rejects armed forces' ultimatum
President Mohamed Morsi rejected the armed forces's 48-hour ultimatum to solve Egypt's political crisis, saying Tuesday that the military's statement might create more confusion.
The president said he would hold to his "national reconciliation" plan, despite the army's ambiguous claim that it would intervene if Morsi's government and the opposition failed to heed "the will of the people."
"The president of the republic was not consulted about the statement issued by the armed forces," Morsi's statement read. "The presidency sees that some of the statements in it carry meanings that could cause confusion in the complex national environment."
"The presidency confirms that it is going forward on its previously plotted path to promote comprehensive national reconciliation ... regardless of any statements that deepen divisions between citizens," the statement continued.
Senior leaders in Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, keenly aware of the military's role in the ousting of former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011, have described the ultimatum as resembling a coup, a claim the military denies.
Morsi met with Prime Minister Hisham Qandil and Defense Minister Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Tuesday.
The president's office tweeted this picture of the meeting:
Morsi's defiance came as Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr tendered his resignation. The latest member of Morsi's cabinet to resign, Amr followed the environment, legal affairs and communication ministers who stepped down on Monday.
On Sunday, millions of mostly peaceful protesters across Egypt took to the streets, with some activists ransacking the Muslim Brotherhood’s headquarters in Cairo.
Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected president, is accused of cracking down on dissent, using the government to impose Islamist values, and failing to repair Egypt's moribund economy.
On Monday, President Barack Obama spoke with Morsi by phone from Tanzania, the last stop on his African tour.
"He stressed that democracy is about more than elections; it is also about ensuring that the voices of all Egyptians are heard and represented by their government, including the many Egyptians demonstrating throughout the country," the White House said in a statement.
Obama also told Morsi he's concerned about sexual assaults against women that have been reported during anti-government protests.