President Mohamed Morsi was stripped of his power and detained by the Egyptian army as the constitution has been suspended. Those gathered on Cairo’s Tahrir Square welcomed the news with cheers, although post-coup Egypt remains highly unstable.
Morsi has reportedly been detained, separated from other officials and taken to a Ministry of Defense facility, according to the Muslim Brotherhood. Arrest warrants have been issued for some 300 members of the Islamist movement. The head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, Saad El-Katatni, as well as Muslim Brotherhood’s deputy chief, Khairet el Shater, were arrested.
“The address of the president yesterday did not meet the demands of the masses of the people,” General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said in a statement, adding the military held talks with various groups throughout Wednesday to work out a roadmap “putting an end to the state of division.”
Millions across Egypt erupted into celebrations after the announcement by the military was made, with crowds chanting pro-army slogans and setting off fireworks.
“The mood remains one of jubilance. All of this however against a backdrop of a deeply divided and dangerous Egypt,” RT’s Paula Slier reported from Tahrir Square early on Thursday morning.
Morsi had earlier stated that he does not recognize the “military coup” and called on Egyptians to stand against it.
Supporters of the ousted President clashed with the anti-government activists overnight with the death toll amounting to 10 people in the Health Ministry’s estimates, though local channels claim over 30 fatalities.
“We are being told that the army is making its way to a pro-Morsi demonstration outside Cairo University. It is trying to isolate pro-Morsi demonstrators,” Slier reported from Cairo, saying the situation their remains fluid.
Meanwhile, an Egyptian security official in the border area with Israel, speaking on condition of anonymity, has confirmed that about 50 tanks were deployed in the area overnight.
The military have taken Al-Jazeera’s Egyptian broadcast off air. Its offices in Cairo were reportedly raided and at least five members of staff arrested. All media outlets associated with the Muslim Brotherhood have gone black.
In his first decision following Morsi’s ouster, Egyptian Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim moved to close all “religious channels,” which include the Salafi oriented Al-Nas and Al-Hafez channels, reports the Egypt Independent. However, it came to light early Thursday morning that all detained heads of religious TV channels had been released from custody.
It was further announced that Egypt’s chief justice of the constitutional court, Judge Adly Mansour, is set to become the interim president.
“The military’s roadmap consists of dissolving the constitution and holding early presidential elections,” Sisi stated. He called for a panel would review the constitution and a national reconciliation committee which would include youth movements. He said the roadmap had been approved by a range of political groups.
The time frame of the presidential and parliamentary elections will be determined by an interim administration, the spokesman told Reuters.
Egyptian opposition leader Mohamed El-Baradei said the Arab Spring revolution has been relaunched as a result of the army-sponsored roadmap.
He added that the roadmap met demands for early presidential elections as called for by the liberal coalition. Egypt’s second largest Islamist group, the Nour Party, has also agreed to the army’s roadmap.
Egypt’s Pope Tawadros, head of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt, says the roadmap ensures security for all Egyptians and offers a political vision, local media reported.
World leaders urge non-violence and return to democracy
US President Barack Obama on Wednesday called for Egypt’s military to “move quickly and responsibly to return full authority back to a democratically elected civilian government.” Obama also outlined in his statement the expectation that the military would “ensure that the rights of all Egyptian men and women are protected, including the right to peaceful assembly, due process, and free and fair trials.”
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the chairman of the budget committee for the State Department and foreign assistance, slammed the ouster of Morsi in a statement, warning Egypt that US aid to the country may subsequently be cut off. The US currently provides Egypt with some $1.5 billion in annual financial assistance, most of which is in the form of military aid.
“Egypt’s military leaders say they have no intent or desire to govern, and I hope they make good on their promise. In the meantime, our law is clear: US aid is cut off when a democratically elected government is deposed by military coup or decree.”
Senator Leahy has authored the most recent stipulations on US military aid to Egypt, which were enacted last year. Though, as Leahy’s own website notes, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and her incumbent John Kerry had previously “used their authority to waive the Leahy conditions.”
By contrast, President Obama’s statements on the Egyptian military’s actions also mentioned aid, but were more general in nature. The president said his administration was “concerned,” and that there would be a review of aid given to the country.
The US ordered a mandatory evacuation of its embassy on Wednesday, and announced a travel advisory for all citizens.
The European Union has urged Egypt to return to civilian rule and the restrain from the use of force.
“I urge all sides to rapidly return to the democratic process, including the holding of free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections and the approval of a constitution,” EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement. “I strongly condemn all violent acts, offer my condolences to the families of the victims, and urge the security forces to do everything in their power to protect the lives and well-being of Egyptian citizens,” she added.
UN chief Ban Ki-Moon urged non-violence in Egypt and called on the people to stay calm and show restraint, also urging dialogue between the country’s political factions.
Gulf nations welcomed the ouster of Morsi. Saudi Arabian King Abdullah sent a message of congratulations to the head of the Egyptian Constitutional Court, Adli Mansour, who had been appointed as interim head of state.
“In my own name and on behalf of the people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, I congratulate you on assuming the leadership of Egypt at this critical point of its history,” the message cited by SPA state news agency reads.
The United Arab Emirates have expressed their satisfaction with the developments in Egypt, according to the WAM state news agency which cited the country’s Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan as saying that “the great Egyptian army was able to prove again that they are the fence of Egypt and that they are the protector and strong shield that guarantee Egypt will remain a state of institutions and law.“