| Coup unravels: Rousing video of President Morsi in detention!

Leaked video captures Morsi in detention ~ MEMO, courtesy Al Watan.

Published by pro-coup Al Watan newspaper, 3 November 2013. Below is the transcript of the video.

Screenshot of Al-Watan's video of imprisoned President Morsi

‘For Egypt to become stable, remain strong, and its children possess their will, just as I used to say we want to produce our food, our medicine and our weapons and therefore possess our will. Israel would be of no value whatsoever should Egypt become like that’


(The coup) is legally a full-fledged crime. Hence, I am the president of the republic according to the existing constitution in the country (words missing), a blow to the institution. It turns upside down all institutional standards and the concept of institutionalism in legislation as well as in formation. We are in a state of a coup. I am a small price for something like this.

God, the Almighty, knows that I’m telling the truth in what I’m saying. What is happening is causing suffering for the country, for the whole of Egypt. (Omitted words.) This is not the time for talking about this matter. It will be when the right time comes. (Words omitted)

In the conflict between us and Israel what is going on is a fiasco. When will Egypt once again return to the situation where there is a separation of powers and where there will be freedom and genuine democracy? What is published in the newspaper is that some of the Arabs living in Jerusalem asked the Israeli authorities to name a street after Rabia, and that the Israeli authorities have fulfilled their demand; that which I have read in the news (then his words are omitted).

Does that mean that Israel is pleased with Rabia or displeased with Rabia (words are omitted). He would always search for a disaster, (incomprehensible words.) Perhaps time will prove that they stand behind this calamity in which we happen to be. I say perhaps, because I’m not absolutely sure, I don’t want to accuse anyone. Yet, what we are going through does of course serve Israel. (It would not please Israel)

For Egypt to become stable, remain strong, and its children possess their will, just as I used to say we want to produce our food, our medicine and our weapons and therefore possess our will. Israel would be of no value whatsoever should Egypt become like that. This Israel has no value whatsoever. Yet, so long as Egypt suffers from anxiety the enemy will benefit. That’s because we are weakening ourselves from within. We move forward a little then backward again. We walk forward a little then retreat. This will (eventually) move on.

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Egypt’s generals ask for amnesty from Morsi ~ MEMO.Egyptian soldiers keeping eye on the streetsThe general said that this visit was part of an initiative which involves the military institution officially apologising to the president for all the offensive actions carried out by some of its 222 leaders.A group of generals in the Egyptian army, along with the leadership of a military services branch, have met with ousted President Mohamed Morsi to launch a campaign called the “Initiative of Repentance,” a senior source in the army said.Speaking to the Egyptian social news website Rassd, the source said that the initiative involves the military institution officially apologising to the president for all the offensive actions carried out by some of its 222 leaders.

The source was among the generals who secretly met with Morsi in his prison last week and preferred to remain anonymous. He reiterated that the offensive actions do not reflect the position of the overwhelming majority of the military institution’s leadership.

He said that some of the leaders were exploiting their political positions to maintain sovereignty over the military. These coup leaders, according to the source, reflected a “tainted mental image” about the army.

The initiative, according to the source, is aimed at regaining a “positive mental image” of the military institution by returning it back to carrying out its basic duties, namely securing Egypt and protecting its borders.

Rassd reported the source saying that Morsi welcome the initiative, but insisted that amnesty be given only to those leaders whose “hands were not tainted with the blood of Egyptians and those who did not incite violence.”

Morsi also demanded that the leaders who were involved in the coup on 3 July be prosecuted before military courts.

The source added that Morsi asked the delegation to prepare a vision for the military institution should the army return back to the military bases. The vision, Morsi said, should include details about promoting the army’s combative abilities.

Morsi’s advice was appreciated and the delegation promised to prepare this vision as soon as possible.

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Morsi is the strongest, most legitimate person in this farcical trial ~

Abdel Bari Atwan, MEMO.

Abdel Bari AtwanPresident Mohamed Morsi proved in the dock, that he was at least morally stronger than his jailer, Colonel Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Perhaps the military rulers will realise, in the coming days that the presence of the elected president Mohamed Morsi, in the presidency cage would be much more merciful and less costly to them than his presence behind bars or standing in front of the comical courts’ judges. What happened yesterday morning during the short, private opening session is an indicator of this.

The military rulers, along with the Egyptian judicial system, should be the ones actually standing in the defendants’ dock, as well as the official and private media outlets. This regime, an extension of Mubarak’s regime, believed that overthrowing the elected president and putting him, along with most high and low ranking Muslim Brotherhood leaders, behind bars would end the Egyptian crises and restore security, stability and prosperity to the country. What is actually happening is quite the opposite, despite the attempts to cover up and de-fraud at every level.

President Mohamed Morsi proved in the dock, that he was at least morally stronger than his jailer, Colonel Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the head of the country and the leader of the Egyptian army. The ruling Egyptian regime seemed to be uncomfortable dealing with the trial and this situation; not only did they change the venue the day before, but seemed afraid to broadcast the trial live as Hosni Mubarak’s trial by Field Marshal Tantawi had been. They deployed 20,000 soldiers and 1,500 tanks to guard the building, as if they were going to war.

President Morsi has the right to declare, as he did during the first session in court, that he is “the President of the republic” and that those who should be tried were those who overthrew legitimacy, disrupted the people’s will and the rule of the ballot box in the first free presidential elections in Egypt’s history.

He also has the right to question a judiciary that has tried an elected president ousted by a military coup for fabricated crimes. A fair and independent judiciary should refuse to give up its neutrality and independence and oppose its politicisation.

President Morsi did not commit any criminal offenses punishable by law and if a crime was actually committed, the crime was against him and his colleagues because they wouldn’t “kill a fly”. It was their supporters who were killed, tortured and politically arrested, including those who were killed in cold blood in front of the Republican Guard’s headquarters, in Rabaa al-Adawiyya and al-Nahda squares. They were shot by security forces and the army, or crushed to death by tanks and bulldozers.

The charges against President Morsi are fabricated and the trial is purely political. To say that he incited murder is both distasteful and unconvincing. How could he have ordered the killing of demonstrators and protesters in front of his palace when his opponents were on the verge of breaking into the palace to kill him, forcing him to escape from a back door and 8 of the 10 victims were his supporters? How can he stand in the defendants’ dock on charges of incitement to murder, while those who actually murdered i.e. the Minister of Interior, have not been charged with anything, such as Habib el-Adli and his aides? What’s more is that they were the ones who committed massacres in the squares when they forcefully dispersed the protests with live ammunition.

Perhaps the most comical charge President Morsi faces is his conspiring with the Islamic resistance movement, Hamas. Since when has communicating with our resisting brothers become a crime worthy of condemnation and imprisonment? Didn’t President Mubarak’s regime and its figures communicate with Hamas and host its leaders in the most luxurious hotels in Egypt, rolling out the red carpet for them every time they landed at one of Egypt’s airports or crossings? Those of us who followed their trials did not hear of any of them being charged with conspiring with the movement, nor have we heard this mentioned in any of the Palestinian movement’s trials. If collaborating with Hamas is a crime, we must re-try Mubarak, the Arab League, and the old and new leaders of the Egyptian intelligence.

President Morsi is still the legitimate president of Egypt, whether or not we agree with him. If he made mistakes during his term or failed to save the country from crises, then he should be politically tried in the parliamentary and presidential elections, by the people, through the ballot box. His reign only lasted 12 months before the demonstrations, protests, sit-ins and the bullying by his opponents, the supporters of the former regime, who were determined to overthrow his rule and did not give him the opportunity to fix his mistakes or even catch his breath.

Those who deserve to be tried are the individuals who ousted the elected president, sent tanks and bulldozers to crush the peaceful protestors in the Rabaa al-Adawiyya and in front of the Republican Guard headquarters and turned Egypt into a military dictatorship. They took hold of the other’s opinions, silenced the media, and aborted freedom of expression, the most significant achievement of the great Egyptian revolution.

Egypt needs an extremely strong man, embodying a third option, to put an end to this absurdity and restore the country’s prestige and respect for legitimacy. He needs to lay the foundation for a true democracy based on national reconciliation and committed to coexistence and ending segregation. Without this, and in light of the vengeful conflicts we are currently witnessing, we do not think the country will experience stability any time soon.

This is a translation of the Arabic text published in El Shaab Newspaper on 4 October, 2013

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| Hypocrite B’Liar: Egyptian army had no choice but to topple Morsi!

Egyptian army had no choice over move to topple Morsi, says Tony Blair ~  and The Observer.

Alternative to military intervention was a country in chaos, says former prime minister.

TOPSHOTS An Egyptian supporter of the Mu

An Egyptian supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood walks holding a poster of Egypt’s deposed president, Mohamed Morsi. Photograph: Mahmud Hams/AFP

Tony Blair says the Egyptian army had no alternative but to oust President Morsi from power, given the strength of opposition on the streets. The military were confronted, writes Blair in the Observer, with the simple choice of intervening or allowing chaos.

The former prime minister’s comments come as Egypt faces prolonged civil conflict after the removal from power of Morsi, who came to office with 51% of the popular vote at the country’s first democratic presidential election, held last year.

As the Middle East envoy representing the US, Russia, the EU and UN, Blair’s intervention will be seen as provocative among the region’s Muslim population, which views last week’s dramatic events as an indefensible coup organised by the Egyptian military establishment.

It also marks a striking development in the thinking of Blair, who now accepts that, in some of the world’s more fraught regions, democracy will not necessarily deliver the kind of governments that can be defended in the face of overwhelming popular protest. Blair states that given the current situation in Egypt: “We should engage with the new de facto power and help make the new government make the changes necessary, especially on the economy, so they can deliver for the people.”

He adds: “The events that led to the Egyptian army’s removal of PresidentMohamed Morsi confronted the military with a simple choice: intervention or chaos. Seventeen million people on the streets are not the same as an election. But it as an awesome manifestation of power.”

Taking a different approach to both President Obama and William Hague, who have expressed reservations over the military takeover, Blair makes clear that, overall, he believes it was the right move. “I am a strong supporter of democracy. But democratic government doesn’t on its own mean effective government. Today efficacy is the challenge.” Having taken this country to war in Iraq in 2003 despite huge public opposition, including a march by more than a million people through London, Blair now argues that shows of public unrest such as that in Egypt – fuelled and organised through social media – cannot be ignored.

“This is a sort of free democratic spirit that operates outside the convention of democracy that elections decide the government. It is enormously fuelled by social media, itself a revolutionary phenomenon.

“And it moves very fast in precipitating crisis. It is not always consistent or rational. A protest is not a policy, or a placard a programme for government. But if governments don’t have a clear argument with which to rebut the protest, they’re in trouble.”

By Saturday night a total of 36 people had died and many dozens more had been injured in continuing clashes in cities across Egypt following the removal of the president.

The US state department urged Egypt’s leaders to put a stop to the clashes, while UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon called for demonstrators to be protected.

Pro-Morsi protesters were gathering yesterday in Cairo’s Nasr City area. The army, meanwhile, issued a statement on its Facebook page denying that some of its field commanders were putting pressure on the commander-in-chief to reinstate Morsi.

“These rumours … come within the context of the continued attempts to spread rumours and lies as one of the methods of the systematic information warfare being waged against the armed forces with the aim of dividing its ranks and striking at its strong cohesion,” the statement said.

Blair says events in Egypt are just “the latest example of the interplay, visible the world over, between democracy, protest and government efficacy. Democracy is a way of deciding the decision-makers but it is not a substitute for making a decision.” He launches a stinging attack on the Muslim Brotherhood’s record in government, saying it was “unable to shift from being an opposition movement to being a government. The economy is tanking. Ordinary law and order has virtually disappeared,” he says.

Blair also argues that the west needs to remain fully engaged in the region, including in Syria, Iran and Palestine. “This struggle matters to us. The good news is that there are millions of modern and open-minded people out there. They need to know we are on their side, their allies, prepared to pay the price to be there with them.”

The central Cairo clashes erupted after a crowd of around 4,000, carrying banners backing Morsi, crossed the 6 October Bridge at sunset. They were met on an overpass near Tahrir Square by anti-Morsi demonstrators who had been celebrating at the ground zero of both of Egypt’s latest revolutions.

Elsewhere in the country, clashes were reported in Alexandria and Luxor. There were also skirmishes in several rural governorates that had been strongly supportive of Morsi during his troubled and truncated year in office.

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1) Isn’t this the same guy who ignored ‘people power’ in his own country, dismissing 2 million people on the streets of London in February 2003 in order to take Britain into a disastrous and illegal Middle East war?

2) Should we really be taking advice from a guy who was a regular guest at Hosni Mubarak‘s holiday villa in Sharm el-Sheikh and referred to the former Egyptian dictator as a friend and ally?

3) Can we now, finally, agree that Blair, adviser to the Kazakh government and defender of the Egyptian coup, isn’t driven by some messianic desire for democracy and freedom in the Middle East (or anywhere else)?

Do we need any further evidence?

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| Egyptian zionism? Warning of humanitarian catastrophe as Egypt tightens siege of Gaza!

Warning of humanitarian catastrophe as Egypt tightens siege of Gaza ~  Ali Abunimah, electronicIntifada.

Palestinian security guards stand near an Egypt watch tower at the Gaza-Egypt border, 5 July.

(Eyad Al Baba / APA images)

An Egyptian general has said that President Muhammad Morsi, who was overthrown by the army on Wednesday, may be charged by the military with “collaborating” with the Palestinian resistance group Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, urgent action is needed to avoid a looming humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, a human rights group warned today, as the political crisis in neighboring Egypt deepens.

Closing Rafah, blaming Palestinians for Egypt’s problems

Earlier today, Egyptian authorities shut down the Rafah crossing, the only route to the outside world for the vast majority of Palestinians in Gaza. The closure came after reported attacks on several Egyptian army checkpoints and posts in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula.

Egyptian authorities and media have routinely blamed such attacks on Palestinians or on Hamas, without any evidence, and Egypt has habitually imposed collective punishments by closing Rafah.

General says Morsi “collaborated” with Hamas

In a striking example today, Brigadier General (Ret.) Ayman Salama, who teaches at Cairo’s Military Academy, told the BBC World Service Newshour that part of the reason the army had overthrown Morsi was his alleged collaboration with Hamas against Egypt.

Salama asserted there was a Palestinian role an attack that killed 16 Egyptian border guards in Sinai last August, and claimed that Morsi had helped to cover it up. Salama said army brass viewed Morsi’s main shortcomings as being related to:

national security in Sinai and with the tunnels coming from the jihadists extremists and Hamas elements, personnel, from Gaza Strip into Sinai leading to the killing in just five minutes of 16 of the guard’s troops. And the president refused the army to release the names after the investigation … Probably there will be military charges against the deposed president being the supreme commander of the Egyptian army forces.

The BBC host asked Salama: “You’re saying that the main offense from the army’s point of view was that President Morsi was too helpful to Hamas?”

Salama responded: “criminally speaking, he [Morsi] threatened the national and military highest security interests of the army and the whole nation by actually collaborating to Hamas against the interests of the army … especially in Sinai.”

Salama added that the “military asked the president many times to give them orders,directives to block, to shut off all tunnels, all tunnels with Gaza but the president claimed that there have been many humanitarian actually sympathies with our neighbors in Hamas in Gaza to let them have a breath against the Israeli blockade.”

Salama reaffirmed the “mutual and important cooperation in intelligence and security between the Egyptian army and the Israeli defense army.”

Possible “catastrophe” as Egypt cracks down

Geneva-based human rights organization Euro-Mid said in a statement today that it “is alarmed by the deteriorating humanitarian conditions in Gaza which is expected to exacerbate in the light of the ongoing political crisis in Egypt, unless the international community intervene sooner to provide Gaza with the needed relief, and avoid further repercussions on 1.7 million people.”

Euro-Mid added that:

the recent Egyptian security restrictions in the border areas led to shut tunnelsthat are described as the only main lifeline to provide Gaza with fuel supplies, commodities, and goods that alleviate impacts of the Israeli siege which was imposed on the strip seven years ago. Eyewitnesses told the Euro-Mid that Egyptian Army bulldozers destroyed number of tunnels that are used to transport goods.

The human rights organization noted that the ongoing gas shortage reached an alarming level, warned of a real catastrophic situation within hours in public hospitals and health centers, which currently lead to reduction in some ambulance services, except in emergencies.

The tightening siege on the Egyptian border comes amid new restrictions by Israel that have led to severe shortages of gas for cooking and heating, affecting businesses, agricultural production and health services.

Israel’s tight restrictions on people and goods continue to devastate the economy.

Egypt gas crisis disappears mysteriously

In the days before the 30 June protests and the subsequent military coup, long lines formed at gasoline stations in Cairo amid an apparent fuel shortage. But the crisis disappeared rapidly once the coup had taken place, as journalist Evan Hill in Cairo wryly observed:

The rapid disappearance of the fuel crisis within Egypt has led to speculation on social media that it may have been deliberately engineered to feed unrest and dissatisfaction with the Morsi government in the days before its overthrow.

To the extent that Brigadier General Salama’s thinking reflects the outlook of the Egyptian army, which is now firmly in charge of the country, it presages even tougher times ahead for Palestinians in Gaza.

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| What Next? For Egyptians will not forget …

The Egyptians will not forget … ~

Motasem A Dalloul, MEMO. 

The military coup in Egypt had a number of results, the most difficult of which for a nascent democracy is the return of the military to the political scene. It created events which the people of Egypt will not forget in a hurry:

  • The Egyptians will not forget the image of their first freely-elected president being ousted after only one year in office by a coalition of his political opponents, the Christian minority and the army. This was blessed by the democratic West and other states.
  • They will not forget that the man charged with forming an interim government, Mohamed ElBaradei, had shoes thrown at him post-January 25th.
  • The Egyptians will not forget that journalists insulted, not criticised, the freely-elected president continuously for a year but he did not have them arrested, nor did he close-down any of their media outlets. His opponents, however, who claim to uphold freedom of speech, have closed TV stations opposing the coup and arrested journalists.
  • They will not forget that during the year of the Islamist government not one citizen was arrested without a court order, whereas the president himself, as well as his aides and members of his party, have been detained by the supposedly freedom loving groups behind the coup.
  • They will not forget that party offices were stormed, looted and set on fire as the president and his party were accused of damaging the country.
  • The Egyptians will not forget that supporters of the president on the streets were killed in their dozens and yet were accused of killing others.
  • The Egyptians will not forget that during the mass protest which led to a coup against the freely elected president more than 100 cases of sexual harassment of women and rape were reported. Human rights organisations have condemned this almost reluctantly and none of the mass media have had exclusive interviews with the victims as they did during the January 25 Revolution.
  • They will not forget that they dismissed journalists sympathetic to Mubarak in 2011 and yet the same journalists are icons of the coup.
  • The Egyptians will not forget that Arab states imposed embargoes on Egypt because it elected an Islamist president and when that president was ousted they cheered and sent the coup culprits cash and oil.
  • The Egyptians will not forget that the so-called champions of democracy in the West sat idly by while democracy was slaughtered in their country. Clearly, the criterion for their support is the degree of loyalty to Western neo-colonialism.
  • They will not forget that the Egyptian army‘s loyalty is not to the state, its freedom or its people’s interests, but to the party, including foreign states, which pays the most for its stained honour.
  • The Egyptians will not forget that their judiciary is neither independent nor clean, with judges and officials who are puppets in the hands of the army. The General Prosecutor, whose resignation was a demand of January 25th, was returned to his position by the military coup.
  • The Egyptians will not forget that when they elected their president in a free and fair democratic election the people of occupied Palestine cheered while the Israeli occupiers were upset; when the president was ousted by the military coup, occupied Palestinians felt great sadness and the Israeli occupation felt great joy.

This list is not the definitive version. History will record that this coup is the worst act of many in the black record of the Egyptian army, blotting out as it did the freedom of democracy in the country, and undermining its value.

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What’s next for Egypt? ~

Amelia Smith

It’s hard to keep up with the latest developments in Egypt. Last night Tweeters gave second by second updates of the events leading up to the overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi, who was democratically elected in Egypt’s first free and fair elections a year ago.

On Monday the military declared a 48-hour deadline to Morsi, urging him to meet the people’s demands otherwise they would implement their own roadmap for the future of Egypt. Many were left to speculate as to the exact nature of their intentions.

In response, Morsi offered to share power with his opponents, agreed to parliamentary elections, a national unity government, a national dialogue and a panel to amend the much debated constitution. But by 7pm Wednesday he had been officially ousted, a move announced by military officer General Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi.

Green neon lights projected onto a government building in Tahrir Square read ‘Game Over.’ Crowds of opposition supporters waved the Egyptian flag, whilst fireworks exploded overhead and soldiers lined the banks of the Nile, in preparation to take their place in the new Egypt.

The army raised barbed wire and barriers around the barracks where Morsi worked, and imposed a travel ban restricting his movement. He is currently under house arrest at the Presidential Guard’s club.

That Morsi was unpopular, there is no doubt. The list of charges against him included his failure to lift Egypt out of a deepening political crisis, stealing too much power for the Muslim Brotherhood and trying to push through an Islamist backed constitution.

But pro-Morsi protests in Nasr City show that he still has tens of thousands of supporters. There, demonstrators shouted “down with military rule,” angry that he should leave after serving just one year of his total four-year term, fearful that what Essam Haddad has called a “military coup” will usher in a new era of repression for Islamists.

Despite this, al-Sisi has suspended the constitution and selected Adli Mansour, head of the constitutional court as of two days earlier, as the interim president. Al-Sisi has promised presidential and parliamentary elections, and a transitional cabinet.

Manour’s government will allegedly be “inclusive of all political factions.” But whether or not the Muslim Brotherhood will be allowed to play a role in politics post July 2013, or if the whole party will be marginalised as a result of Morsi’s mistakes and early ouster, is unclear.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s headquarters have already been burnt to the ground, with no protection from the police, and pro-Muslim Brotherhood TV channels closed. An arrest warrant for 300 members has been issued.

Some on the list, like Khairat al-Shater, weren’t even part of Morsi’s government. Others, such as Morsi himself, were let out of prison by their fans during the January 2011 revolution, but may well be heading back there on the grounds that their breaking free was illegal.

Ahmed Shafiq – a member of the ‘deep state’ who was pitted against Morsi in last year’s election – has just released a video declaring his imminent return, that “there is no room for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt any more” and that “enabling Muslim Brotherhood rule was a fatal mistake.”

As for military, their rule for five months last year following the downfall of Mubarak was once the focus of heavy criticism in Egypt, and Morsi’s ability to distance himself from their power by removing important generals has long been cited as one of his main achievements.

A recent New York Times article by Ben Hubbard summed up their standing well when he said, “The removal underlined the armed forces’ status as Egypt’s most powerful institution since the coup six decades ago that toppled King Farouq and led to the rise of Gamal Abdel Nasser.”

They are the largest army in the Middle East at 450,000 troops, largely made up of young conscripts. Many of the rest are elite officers who have their own hospitals, clubs and parks bank rolled by the state.

Of course, the events in Tahrir Square are already having reverberations across the Middle East. Tunisian opposition activists have created their own Tamarod movement and are attempting to rally support behind a petition in opposition to their own democratically elected Islamist government, Al-Nahda, though their signatures are nowhere near the size of Egypt’s.

Like Egypt, they blame the government for not dragging the country out of economic misery the country plunged into when former President Zine Al Abidine Ali was swept away.

Whilst Russia and China have supported Morsi’s ouster; some officials from the US and the European Union have spoken out about the removal of a democratically elected government. But the US has not announced it will pull the plug on millions of pounds worth of aid it hands over to Egypt each year.

Needless to say, the protests have challenged the legitimacy of free and fair elections. Who’s to say the next President will make it more than six months before he’s toppled, and the one after longer than three?

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| Egyptian coup d’etat: Army deposes Morsi, suspends constitution!

Egyptian army suspends constitution ~ BBC.

General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, addressing the nation on Egyptian State Television Wednesday, July 3, 2013
General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi made his statement live on Egyptian TV

The head of the Egyptian army has appeared live on television, announcing the suspension of the constitution.

General Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi, flanked by religious and military leaders, said the chief justice of constitutional court would take the powers of the presidency.

His announcement means President Mohammed Morsi is no longer in power.

Anti-Morsi protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square gave out a huge cheer in response to the speech.

The move follows four days of mass street protests against Mr Morsi, and an ultimatum issued by the military which expired on Wednesday afternoon.

After General Sisi’s address, both Pope Tawadros II, the head of the Coptic Church, and leading opposition figure Mohammed ElBaradei made short statements.

Mr ElBaradei said the new roadmap aimed for national reconciliation and represented a fresh start to the January 2011 revolution.

TV stations belonging to Mr Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood went off air at the end of the speech.

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| Mursi calls for coalition government as army ultimatum expires!

Mursi calls for coalition government as army ultimatum expires ~ Al-Akhbar.

Egyptian protesters wave the national flag outside the Republican Guards headquarters in Cairo on 3 July 2013, during a demonstration against President Mohammed Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood. (Photo: AFP- Gianluigi Guercia)

Published Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Updated at 6:05pm: Tens of thousands of Egyptians poured onto the streets on Wednesday, as a controversial army deadline to impose a political solution expired, after a defiant President Mohammed Mursi vowed to see out his term regardless.

At 5:00pm local time, half an hour after the ultimatum, the Egyptian army had still not issued a statement, leaving Egyptians unsure of what to expect from the situation.

In a statement on Facebook, Mursi’s office declared that “The presidency envisions the formation of a consensus coalition government to oversee the next parliamentary election.”

Egyptian troops were securing the central Cairo studios of state television as the deadline neared, the head of state television and radio said.

Shoukry Abu Amira said in remarks carried by state newspaper al-Ahramthat Republican Guards had been securing and protecting the building for the past several days.

As the deadline approached when the army high command is expected to step in and reorder Egypt’s political institutions, security sources said staff not involved in working on live broadcasts had left the building.

Amira denied reports that the studios had been evacuated.

Security sources have said that armored vehicles are patrolling the streets outside the building.

The interior ministry warned that police would respond firmly to any violence after a week of bloodshed – which has now killed almost 50 people – intensified as Mursi supporters and opponents again squared off overnight.

Mursi’s opponents accuse him of having betrayed the revolution by concentrating power in the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood and its Islamist allies and of sending the economy into a freefall.

His supporters say he inherited many problems, and that he should be allowed to complete his term, which runs until 2016.

As the clock ticked down on the army’s deadline for Mursi to meet the “people’s demands” by 4:30pm, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi held talks with top brass, a source close to the army told AFP.

Sisi, who is also the defense minister, later went into a meeting with opposition leader Mohamed el-Baradei, Coptic Christian Patriarch Tawadros II and Sheikh Ahmad al-Tayeb, the grand imam of al-Azhar, Sunni Islam’s highest seat of learning.

A spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood said on Twitter that the political wing of the group, the Freedom and Justice Party, had declined to attend the meeting.

The crunch talks came as thousands of protesters opposed to Mursi massed in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, epicenter of the 2011 uprising, after the Islamist leader delivered a televised address to the nation rejecting calls for him to step down.

The army will issue a statement after the deadline passes, said the military source, without giving a specific time.

Some of Mursi’s opponents have welcomed the army’s 48-hour ultimatum, which was followed by a spate of resignations from his cabinet.

But others accuse the generals of preparing a return to the unpopular military rule of the months between the overthrow of former president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011 and Mursi’s swearing-in on June 30 last year.

Government daily al-Ahram reported details of the army’s demands.

Its plan provides for an interim administration, of up to one year, which would include the head of the supreme constitutional court and a senior army figure.

The controversial constitution, approved by Mursi’s Islamist allies in December, would be suspended for up to 12 months while a new one was drawn up and put to a referendum, before presidential and legislative elections.

The opposition June 30 Front coalition said it was ready to join urgent talks on the negotiated transition called for by the army.

(AFP, Reuters, Al-Akhbar)

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