Egypt’s army gives Mursi the boot

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July 03, 2013 By The Daily Star

CAIRO: Egypt will see a new President sworn in Thursday to oversee a transition to early elections after a dramatic four days that saw the country’s first freely elected president, Islamist Mohammad Mursi, swept from power in a swift military coup.

Jubilant crowds across Cairo cheered, chanted pro-army slogans and set off fireworks after the military suspended the constitution and announced that an interim technocrat government, headed by Chief Justice Adly Mansour, would oversee the transition period.

The crowds, camped in Tahrir for three days demanding Mursi’s ouster after one year in power, erupted as Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi read the statement announcing Mursi’s suspension, following the passing of a 48-hour deadline Wednesday for Mursi to agree to a power-sharing deal, or the army would implement their own road map.

Men, women and children waved red-white-and-black Egyptian flags as fireworks went off and confetti twirled in the air. Protesters stood on each other’s shoulders and families snapped pictures in Tahrir, the center of demonstrations that drew millions out against Mursi and Mubarak two year earlier.

“The people and the army are one hand,” they chanted.

But the move potentially throws the country into further confrontation.

Mursi has insisted his legitimacy as an elected president must not be violated or Egypt could be thrown into violence. Some of his Islamist backers, tens of thousands of whom took to the streets in recent days, have vowed to fight to the end.

“Down with the rule of the military,” some of them chanted after the army announcement, reviving a chant used by leftist revolutionaries during the nearly 17 months of direct military rule that followed Mubarak’s removal.

In his speech, delivered flanked by Christian and Muslim religious leaders and top army brass, as well as pro-reform leader Mohammed ElBaradei and two representatives of the youth opposition movement behind the wave of protests, Sisi said the chief justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court would step in as interim president until new elections are held. He would be sworn in by judges of his court, Sisi said. A government of technocrats would be formed with “full powers” to run the country.

He promised “not to exclude anyone or any movement” from further steps. But he did not define the length of the transition period or when presidential elections would be held. He also did not mention any role for the military.

The constitution, drafted by Mursi’s Islamist allies, was “temporarily suspended,” and a panel of experts and representatives of all political movements will consider amendments. He did not say whether a referendum would be held to ratify the changes, as is customary.

Seeking to avert a destabilizing backlash, he warned that the armed forces and police would deal “decisively” with violence.

After the 9:20 p.m., the Brotherhood’s TV station went blank.

Shortly before the announcement, the army deployed troops, commandos and armored vehicles in cities around the country. In Cairo, they stationed on bridges over the Nile River and at major intersections. They also surrounded rallies being held by Mursi’s supporters in an apparent move to contain them.

Travel bans were imposed on Mursi, whose whereabouts remained unknown early Thursday morning, as well as top figures from his Muslim Brotherhood including its chief Mohammad Badie and his powerful deputy Khairat al-Shater.

Remaining defiant to the end, Mursi issued a statement uploaded on YouTube, saying: “I am the elected president of Egypt.”

At least 39 people have been killed in clashes since Sunday, hiking fears that greater violence could erupt when the final move was made against him. Four people were killed in fighting between Mursi supporters and security forces in the northern city of Marsa Matrouh while clashes with opponents erupted in Alexandria following the announcement. Battles in the Nile Delta city of Kafr al-Sheikh Wednesday left at least 200 people injured.

It is the second time in 2 1⁄2 years that the army has intervened to force out the country’s leader. It pushed out Mubarak and took power itself. This time, however, its removal of an elected figure could be more explosive. Elected with 51.7 percent of the vote in last year’s presidential election, Mursi took office vowing to move beyond his roots in the Muslim Brotherhood.

But his presidency threw the country into deep polarization. Those who took to the streets this week say he lost his electoral legitimacy because he tried to give the Brotherhood and Islamist allies a monopoly on power, pushed through a constitution largely written by his allies and mismanaged the country’s multiple crises.

“Now we want a president who would really be the president of all Egyptians and will work for the country,” Said Shahin, a 19-year-old protester in Tahrir, said, falling to the ground to pray as soon as Sisi spoke.

Mahmoud Badr, spokesman for Tamarod, or Rebel – the youth movement behind the rallies – praised the crowds in the streets, saying they succeeded in “putting your revolution back on track.”

Mursi and his allies say the opposition never accepted their appeals for dialogue and that Mubarak loyalists throughout the government sabotaged their attempts to bring change.

The military had issued an ultimatum Monday giving Mursi 48 hours to find some solution with its opponents. Any deal, however, was a near impossibility, making it inevitable the military would move.

“For the sake of Egypt and for historical accuracy, let’s call what is happening by its real name: military coup,” Mursi’s top foreign policy adviser Essam al-Haddad wrote on his Facebook page.

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, in a telegram, congratulated the new president of Egypt, Adly Mansour, and praised the Egyptian armed forces who “took Egypt out of a tunnel, only God knew its dimensions and repercussions.”

The UAE and Jordanian foreign ministers also welcomed the new president.

Egyptian military leaders have assured the Obama administration that they are not interested in long-term rule in an apparent bid to forestall potential U.S. sanctions, American officials said Wednesday.

The administration would be forced to suspend its $1.5 billion in annual military and economic assistance to Egypt – which is deemed a critical U.S. national security priority – if the ouster is determined to have been a military coup.

In conversations between senior Egyptian army officers and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, senior Egyptian army officers pledged to put a civilian government in place quickly, if not immediately, U.S. officials said.

The officials also said the Egyptian military pledged to take steps to ensure the safety of Americans in Egypt.

A U.S. official said the State Department ordered nonessential diplomats and the families of all embassy personnel to leave Egypt.

CAIRO: Egypt will see a new President sworn in Thursday to oversee a transition to early elections after a dramatic four days that saw the country’s first freely elected president, Islamist Mohammad Mursi, swept from power in a swift military coup.

Jubilant crowds across Cairo cheered, chanted pro-army slogans and set off fireworks after the military suspended the constitution and announced that an interim technocrat government, headed by Chief Justice Adly Mansour, would oversee the transition period.

The crowds, camped in Tahrir for three days demanding Mursi’s ouster after one year in power, erupted as Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi read the statement announcing Mursi’s suspension, following the passing of a 48-hour deadline Wednesday for Mursi to agree to a power-sharing deal, or the army would implement their own road map.

Men, women and children waved red-white-and-black Egyptian flags as fireworks went off and confetti twirled in the air. Protesters stood on each other’s shoulders and families snapped pictures in Tahrir, the center of demonstrations that drew millions out against Mursi and Mubarak two year earlier.

“The people and the army are one hand,” they chanted.

But the move potentially throws the country into further confrontation.

Mursi has insisted his legitimacy as an elected president must not be violated or Egypt could be thrown into violence. Some of his Islamist backers, tens of thousands of whom took to the streets in recent days, have vowed to fight to the end.

“Down with the rule of the military,” some of them chanted after the army announcement, reviving a chant used by leftist revolutionaries during the nearly 17 months of direct military rule that followed Mubarak’s removal.

In his speech, delivered flanked by Christian and Muslim religious leaders and top army brass, as well as pro-reform leader Mohammed ElBaradei and two representatives of the youth opposition movement behind the wave of protests, Sisi said the chief justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court would step in as interim president until new elections are held. He would be sworn in by judges of his court, Sisi said. A government of technocrats would be formed with “full powers” to run the country.

He promised “not to exclude anyone or any movement” from further steps. But he did not define the length of the transition period or when presidential elections would be held. He also did not mention any role for the military.

The constitution, drafted by Mursi’s Islamist allies, was “temporarily suspended,” and a panel of experts and representatives of all political movements will consider amendments. He did not say whether a referendum would be held to ratify the changes, as is customary.

Seeking to avert a destabilizing backlash, he warned that the armed forces and police would deal “decisively” with violence.

After the 9:20 p.m., the Brotherhood’s TV station went blank.

Shortly before the announcement, the army deployed troops, commandos and armored vehicles in cities around the country. In Cairo, they stationed on bridges over the Nile River and at major intersections. They also surrounded rallies being held by Mursi’s supporters in an apparent move to contain them.

Travel bans were imposed on Mursi, whose whereabouts remained unknown early Thursday morning, as well as top figures from his Muslim Brotherhood including its chief Mohammad Badie and his powerful deputy Khairat al-Shater.

Remaining defiant to the end, Mursi issued a statement uploaded on YouTube, saying: “I am the elected president of Egypt.”

At least 39 people have been killed in clashes since Sunday, hiking fears that greater violence could erupt when the final move was made against him. Four people were killed in fighting between Mursi supporters and security forces in the northern city of Marsa Matrouh while clashes with opponents erupted in Alexandria following the announcement. Battles in the Nile Delta city of Kafr al-Sheikh Wednesday left at least 200 people injured.

It is the second time in 2 1⁄2 years that the army has intervened to force out the country’s leader. It pushed out Mubarak and took power itself. This time, however, its removal of an elected figure could be more explosive. Elected with 51.7 percent of the vote in last year’s presidential election, Mursi took office vowing to move beyond his roots in the Muslim Brotherhood.

But his presidency threw the country into deep polarization. Those who took to the streets this week say he lost his electoral legitimacy because he tried to give the Brotherhood and Islamist allies a monopoly on power, pushed through a constitution largely written by his allies and mismanaged the country’s multiple crises.

“Now we want a president who would really be the president of all Egyptians and will work for the country,” Said Shahin, a 19-year-old protester in Tahrir, said, falling to the ground to pray as soon as Sisi spoke.

Mahmoud Badr, spokesman for Tamarod, or Rebel – the youth movement behind the rallies – praised the crowds in the streets, saying they succeeded in “putting your revolution back on track.”

Mursi and his allies say the opposition never accepted their appeals for dialogue and that Mubarak loyalists throughout the government sabotaged their attempts to bring change.

The military had issued an ultimatum Monday giving Mursi 48 hours to find some solution with its opponents. Any deal, however, was a near impossibility, making it inevitable the military would move.

“For the sake of Egypt and for historical accuracy, let’s call what is happening by its real name: military coup,” Mursi’s top foreign policy adviser Essam al-Haddad wrote on his Facebook page.

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, in a telegram, congratulated the new president of Egypt, Adly Mansour, and praised the Egyptian armed forces who “took Egypt out of a tunnel, only God knew its dimensions and repercussions.”

The UAE and Jordanian foreign ministers also welcomed the new president.

Egyptian military leaders have assured the Obama administration that they are not interested in long-term rule in an apparent bid to forestall potential U.S. sanctions, American officials said Wednesday.

The administration would be forced to suspend its $1.5 billion in annual military and economic assistance to Egypt – which is deemed a critical U.S. national security priority – if the ouster is determined to have been a military coup.

In conversations between senior Egyptian army officers and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, senior Egyptian army officers pledged to put a civilian government in place quickly, if not immediately, U.S. officials said.

The officials also said the Egyptian military pledged to take steps to ensure the safety of Americans in Egypt.

A U.S. official said the State Department ordered nonessential diplomats and the families of all embassy personnel to leave Egypt.



Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2013/Jul-04/222513-egypts-army-gives-mursi-the-boot.ashx#ixzz2Y3VZf9h8 
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)

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The Daily Star


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