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Egyptian military ousts first democratically-elected president

On July 3 2013, the Egyptian military deposed and reportedly detained the country’s first democratically elected president, put a top judge in his place and suspended the constitution.

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Egypt’s interim president took the first steps toward building a permanent government, by appointing a vice president and a prime minister. 

But Egypt remains a nation divided over the ouster of president Morsi.

On Monday morning, Egypt’s Republican Guard fired upon pro-Morsi protesters outside the guard’s headquarters. Forty-two people are dead.

In response, the country’s party, which supported Morsi’s removal, pulled out of negotiations toward forming an interim government.

There have also been rallies by Egyptians who support the military government that replaced Morsi.

Chicago’s Egyptian consulate sponsored a pro-democracy rally Sunday. Marchers carried signs calling for the return of President Morsi to the Egyptian presidency.

They say the Egyptian people chose him as their leader, and the Egyptian Army should respect the will of the people.

Supporters of the deposed Mohammed Morsi and their opponent have violently clashed in Egypt.

An uncertain new political order began to take shape in Egypt on Thursday, a day after the military deposed and reportedly detained the country’s first democratically elected president, put a top judge in his place and suspended the constitution.

The state-run Al-Ahram News reported that Egypt’s stock market surged 7% in the first hours of trading Thursday to a near two-month high.

Wednesday’s coup that toppled Mohamed Morsy prompted hundreds of thousands of people in the streets across Egypt to both applaud and assail the generals’ decision to step into the country’s political fray for the second time in slightly more than two years.

It also raised questions: What will happen to Morsy and his supporters, who insist he remains the country’s legitimate leader? Will violence blamed for the deaths Wednesday of at least 32 people spread? What hopes remain for Egypt’s attempts to build a multiparty democracy?

In a tweet, the Tamarrod movement that had sought Morsy’s ouster said it nominated Mohamed ElBaradei, an opposition leader, to become prime minister and called on Egyptians to remain in squares “in order to meet all demands of the revolution.”

EgyptNewPresident

Adly Mansour, head of the country’s Supreme Constitutional Court, was sworn in as Egypt’s interim president. Photo courtesy of CNN.

And Egyptian security forces arrested the supreme guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Badie, in the northern city of Marsa Matrouh, the Reuters news agency reported, citing security sources.

“I don’t think that the military’s so-called road map is actually going to move smoothly,” said Hani Sabra, director of the Middle Eastern arm of the Eurasia Group, a U.S.-based political risk research and consulting firm.

“I think there are a lot of challenges it faces,” Sabra said, noting the threat of more violence, possible divisions within the anti-Morsy coalition and Egypt’s economic woes.

On Thursday morning, Tahrir Square in Cairo was calm. The huge crowds that had celebrated Morsy’s ouster with horns, cheering, fireworks the night before had thinned.

Swearing in

Morsy, a Western-educated Islamist elected a year ago, “did not achieve the goals of the people” and failed to meet the generals’ demands that he share power with his opposition, Egypt’s top military officer, Gen. Abdel-Fatah El-Sisi, said Wednesday in a televised speech to the nation.

Adly Mansour, head of the country’s Supreme Constitutional Court, replaces Morsy as Egypt’s interim president, El-Sisi said.

Following a decree last month by Morsy, Mansour had become head of the court just two days earlier. He was sworn in as interim president Thursday in Cairo.

At the ceremony, Mansour said the Egyptian people had given him the authority “to amend and correct” the revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

Until new elections, to be held at an unspecified date, Mansour will have the power to issue constitutional declarations, El-Sisi said.

The military had not commented on Morsy’s whereabouts. But Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad told CNN the deposed president was under “house arrest” at the presidential Republican Guard headquarters in Cairo.

The state-run Middle East News Agency said two leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political party had been taken into custody; the state-run newspaper Al-Ahram said police were seeking another 300.

The Egyptian military has dominated the country for six decades and took direct power for a year and a half after Mubarak’s ouster.

Morsy’s approval ratings plummeted after his election in June 2012 as his government failed to keep order or revive Egypt’s economy.

Morsy’s opponents accused him of authoritarianism and forcing through a conservative agenda, and on Monday the military gave him 48 hours to order reforms.

As the deadline neared Wednesday, he offered to form an interim coalition government to oversee parliamentary elections and revise the constitution, which was enacted in January. But those actions failed to satisfy the generals.

Conflicting responses

The army’s move against Morsy and the Muslim Brotherhood, the long-repressed political movement that propelled him to office, provoked wildly conflicting reactions.

In Tahrir Square, the epicenter of two Egyptian upheavals, a vast gathering of Morsy’s opponents erupted in jubilation and fireworks at El-Sisi’s announcement Wednesday night.

“The crowd walked up to the barricades and started banging on them using rocks, sticks and even bare hands,” said Sultan Zaki Al-Saud in a CNN iReport. “It sounded like thunder as the hollow barricades rang with every blow.”

During his time in office, Morsy had squared off against Egypt’s judiciary, the media, the police and even artists.

Egyptians are frustrated with rampant crime and a struggling economy. Unemployment remains high, food prices are rising and there are frequently electricity cuts and long fuel lines.

ElBaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency and a leading opposition figure, said the plans announced by the military Wednesday were “a correction for the way of the revolution” that drove Mubarak from office.

But Abdoul Mawgoud Dardery, a former member of parliament allied with Morsy, criticized the military’s decision to take matters into its hands.

“I don’t know how can anyone with common sense support a military coup in a democracy,” he said. Egyptians “will never recognize a coup d’etat.”

Outside observers echoed that concern.

“Popular protests are the sign of a robust democracy. But the change in an elected government should be at the ballot box, not through mob violence,” said Ed Husain, a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Across the Nile River from Tahrir Square, Morsy supporters chanted, “Down with military rule,” and “The square has a million martyrs.”

A pro-Morsy protester in Cairo predicted demonstrators would stay “until Mohamed Morsy is once again president of Egypt.”

“We’re not violent, but at the end of the day we want peaceful change of power,” El-Haddad, the Muslim Brotherhood spokesman, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “But if democracy gets derailed every time that way, what other option is the people left with?”

‘The world is looking’

Morsy had remained defiant.

“The world is looking at us today,” he said Wednesday in a taped statement delivered to the Arabic satellite network Al Jazeera. “We by ourselves can bypass the obstacles. We, the sons of Egypt, the sons of this country — this is the will of the people and cannot be canceled.”

Shortly after Morsy’s statement aired, Al Jazeera reported its Cairo studios had been raided during a live broadcast and its presenter, guests and producers arrested.

The Muslim Brotherhood, the long-repressed political movement that propelled Morsy to office, said its broadcast outlets had been shut.

El-Haddad told CNN he couldn’t confirm any arrests beyond those of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party chief, Saad el-Katatni, and its deputy, Rashad Al-Bayoumi.

“A return to Mubarak-era practices of mass arrests and politically motivated imprisonment of Muslim Brotherhood leaders will have the worst possible effect on Egypt’s political future,” said Human Rights Watch, the U.S.-based advocacy group.

Despite the apparent moves against the Brotherhood, the military suggested Thursday it would protect the movement’s members. The military said it would not allow any attacks or intimidation against those who belong to an Islamic group, state-run Nile TV reported.

But 32 people were killed Wednesday in clashes in Egypt, officials told Nile TV. Hundreds more were reported to have been injured.

The sporadic violence at times pitted Morsy’s supporters against the opposition and the military, raising fears of spiraling unrest.

Concerns of a backlash

Some observers warned of an extremist backlash.

“The major lesson that Islamists in the Middle East are likely to learn from this episode is that they will not be allowed to exercise power, no matter how many compromises they make in both the domestic and foreign policy arenas,” said Mohammed Ayoob, Michigan State University professor emeritus of international relations.

“This is likely to push a substantial portion of mainstream Islamists into the arms of the extremists who reject democracy and ideological compromise,” Ayoob wrote in a CNN.com opinion piece.

President Barack Obama said the United States was “deeply concerned” by Morsy’s removal and the suspension of the constitution.

He called upon the military to hand over power to “a democratically elected civilian government” but did not say it needed to be Morsy’s.

At least three high-level conversations took place between U.S. military officials and their Egyptian counterparts in the past week, Pentagon officials said Thursday.

The situation has created an uncomfortable policy scenario for the United States, which champions democratic principles.

Washington has supplied Egypt’s military with tens of billions of dollars in support and equipment for more than 30 years. Under U.S. law, that support could be cut off after a coup.

Obama said he had ordered “the relevant departments and agencies” to study how the change in power would affect U.S. aid.

The German government was more emphatic in its assessment.

“This is a heavy setback for democracy in Egypt,” German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said. “It is very urgent for Egypt to return to constitutional order as soon as possible.”
TM & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

 

 

Egypt’s military toppled the country’s first democratically elected president Wednesday night and reportedly put him under house arrest while rounding up some of his top supporters even as the deposed Mohamed Morsy insisted that he remains the country’s legitimate leader.

Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets across Egypt over the military’s actions that were decried by Morsy’s supporters as a “coup” and celebrated as a “correction” by his opponents. At least eight people were killed and more than 340 wounded in sporadic violence that at times pitted Morsy’s supporters against the opposition and the military.

Morsy “did not achieve the goals of the people” and failed to meet the generals’ demands that he share power with his opposition, Egypt’s top military officer, Gen. Abdel-Fatah El-Sisi, said in a televised speech to the nation.

Adly Mansour, head of the country’s

Egypt

Celebration in Egypt. Photo courtesy of CNN

Supreme Constitutional Court, will replace Morsy as Egypt’s interim president, El-Sisi said. Mansour was expected to be sworn in on Thursday.

The military has not publicly commented on Morsy’s whereabouts. But Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad told CNN the deposed president was under “house arrest” at the presidential Republican Guard headquarters in Cairo. He said some members of Morsy’s inner circle have also put under house arrest.

The country’s constitution has been suspended, and Mansour will “establish a government that is a strong and diverse,” said El-Sisi, head of the country’s armed forces. New parliamentary elections will be held, and Mansour will have the power to issue constitutional declarations in the meantime, he said.

El-Sisi said the military was fulfilling its “historic responsibility” to protect the country by ousting Morsy, a Western-educated Islamist elected a year ago.

Morsy remained defiant and insisted he was Egypt’s proper president.

“The world is looking at us today,” he said in a taped statement delivered to the Arabic satellite network Al Jazeera. “We by ourselves can bypass the obstacles. We, the sons of Egypt, the sons of this country — this is the will of the people and cannot be canceled.”

Shortly after Morsy’s statement aired, Al Jazeera reported its Cairo studios were raided during a live broadcast on Wednesday and its presenter, guests and producers arrested.

The Muslim Brotherhood, the long-repressed political movement that propelled Morsy to office, said its broadcast outlets had been shut down.

Muslim Brotherhood arrests

The state-run Middle East News Agency said the two top leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political party had been taken into custody, and another state-run outlet, the newspaper Al-Ahram, said another 300 were being sought by police.

El-Haddad told CNN that he has been told hundreds of names have been put on an “arrest list” but couldn’t confirm any arrests beyond those of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party chief, Saad el-Katatni, and its deputy, Rashad Al-Bayoumi.

Morsy said he remains open to negotiations and dialogue, and he called on supporters to demonstrate peacefully.

But at least eight people were killed and more than 340 wounded in clashes around the country on Wednesday, Health Minister Dr. Mohamed Mustafa Hamid told Al-Ahram.

Morsy opponents who packed Tahrir Square, now the epicenter of two Egyptian upheavals, erupted in jubilation and fireworks when El-Sisi made his announcement.

“This is a united people of Egypt,” anti-Morsy organizer Ahmed el Hawary said. “Mohamed Morsy has actually succeeded in uniting the people, after two years that we were totally against each other … Mohamed Morsy, with his bad management, with his risking all the lives of Egypt, brought all Egyptians back together to be facing again their future, hand in hand.”

But Abdoul Mawgoud Dardery, a former member of parliament from the Morsy-allied Freedom and Justice Party, called that “ridiculous.”

“I don’t know how can anyone with common sense support a military coup in a democracy,” he said. Egyptians “will never recognize a coup d’etat,” he said.

And across the Nile River from Tahrir Square, Morsy supporters chanted chanted “Down with military rule” and “The square has a million martyrs.”

Before Wednesday night’s announcement, troops moved into key positions around the capital, closing off a bridge over the Nile and surrounding Rabaa Adawya Square, where Morsy’s supporters were gathered.

Military had demanded reforms

Morsy was elected president in June 2012. But his approval ratings have plummeted as his government has failed to keep order or revive Egypt’s economy. The chaos, including open sexual assaults on women in Egypt’s streets, has driven away tourists and investors, while opponents say Morsy’s rule was increasingly authoritarian.

Mohamed ElBaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency and a leading opposition figure, said the plans announced Wednesday were “a correction for the way of the revolution” that drove Hosni Mubarak from office in 2011.

“The road map guarantees achieving the principal demand of the Egyptian people — having early presidential elections through an interim period through which the constitution will be amended,” he said. “So all of us build it together and agree on a democratic constitution, so we can guarantee our freedoms.”

The Egyptian military dominated the country for six decades and took direct power for a year and a half after Mubarak’s ouster. On Monday, after a previous demand that Morsy offer concessions to the opposition, it gave him 48 hours to order reforms.

As the hour of the ultimatum neared, Morsy offered to form an interim coalition government to oversee parliamentary elections and revise the constitution that was enacted in January.

“One of the mistakes I cannot accept — as the president of all Egyptians — is to side with one party over another, or to present the scene from one side only. To be fair, we need to listen to the voice of people in all squares,” he said.

Shortly after the deadline, Morsy aide Essam El Haddad said in a Facebook posting that a coup was under way and warned that the generals risked bloodshed by moving against Morsy.

“In a democracy, there are simple consequences for the situation we see in Egypt: The president loses the next election or his party gets penalized in the upcoming parliamentary elections. Anything else is mob rule,” he wrote.

But Naguib Abadeer, a member of the opposition Free Egyptians Party, said what was under way “is not by any means a military coup. This is a revolution.”

Morsy lost his legitimacy in November, when he declared courts could not review his decrees and ousted the country’s prosecutor-general, Abadeer said. And the Muslim Brotherhood “hijacked the vote of the people” by running on a religious platform, “so these were not democratic elections,” he said.

Obama says U.S. reviewing aid

In Washington, President Barack Obama said the United States is “deeply concerned” by Morsy’s removal and the suspension of the constitution.

Washington has supplied Egypt’s military with tens of billions in support and equipment over more than 30 years, and under U.S. law, that support could be cut off after a coup — a term his White House statement avoided.

“The United States does not support particular individuals or political parties, but we are committed to the democratic process and respect for the rule of law,” Obama said.

He said he had ordered “the relevant departments and agencies” to study what American law would mean for U.S. aid and urged the generals to hand power back to an elected government ‘as soon as possible.”

In the wake of Morsy’s ouster, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon echoed Obama’s call for an immediate return to civilian rule. He appealed for “calm, non-violence, dialogue and restraint.”

Wednesday’s events capped days of massive demonstrations for and against Morsy. The demonstrations were largely peaceful, but health officials said 23 people died in clashes overnight at Cairo University, Al-Ahram reported.

Anti-Morsy demonstrators have ransacked Muslim Brotherhood offices around Egypt in the past several days.

Obama called Morsy on Monday to urge him to take a less-rigid stance toward his opponents, telling his Egyptian counterpart “that democracy is about more than elections,” a White House statement said. But the State Department denied that Obama had urged Morsy to call early elections, as a senior administration official had said Tuesday.

Morsy’s opposition said it had collected more than 20 million signatures on a petition to remove him — millions more than the number who voted Morsy into the presidency.

Tuesday night, Morsy had vowed that he would not comply with the ultimatum and demanded that the armed forces stand down, even “if the price of upholding this legitimacy is my own blood.” But political analyst Hisham Kassem told CNN the speech was Morsy’s “final bluff.”

“He was trying to give the impression ‘We are there in numbers, and we are going to retaliate, we are not going to allow this to happen.’ However, with almost 24 hours since his message, it’s clear his supporters will not dare challenge the crowds on the street,” Kassem said.

And faced with the throngs that filled Cairo’s Tahrir Square, “the military had to intervene. Otherwise this crowd was going to get Morsy from his palace.”

CNN spells the deposed president’s name with a ‘y’ in accordance with what his spokesman said is his personal preference, his own e-mail and the country’s Foreign Ministry.
TM & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

As the country gets ready to celebrate the 4th of July, some  Egyptians in Chicago who say Wednesday was like their independence day.

They are opposed to President Mohammed Morsi’s leadership and say they are now hopeful for their country after hearing the opposition has removed him from power.

 

In addition to blaming <orsi for the crumbling economy, Egyptians opposed to the leader have also accused him of restricting religious freedom by forcing Islamic rule.

 

WGN’s  Krystle Gutierrez spoke with some Egyptian’s in Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood.

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