Army brings down Morsi Govt in Egypt
Cairo, July 4: A senior jurist was sworn in as Egypt’s acting head of state on Thursday, hours after military officers removed the country’s first democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi, suspended the Constitution and installed an interim government.
The chief justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court, Adli Mansour, was sworn in as the acting head of state in a ceremony broadcast live on state television, news reports said. In his first reported remarks, he praised the protesters whose mass demonstrations spurred the military action, calling them a unifying force and saying they “corrected the path of its glorious revolution.”
But he also held out an olive branch to Morsi’s Islamist supporters in the Muslim Brotherhood, saying the group “is part of this people and are invited to participate in building the nation as nobody will be excluded, and if they responded to the invitation, they will be welcomed,” Reuters reported. There was no immediate word on a response from the Brotherhood, many of whose senior figures were under house arrest.
The National Salvation Front alliance of liberal and leftist parties echoed Mansour’s sentiments, saying in a statement that they opposed “excluding any party, particularly political Islamic groups” and believed “in the right of all political groups to express their opinions freely, and to form their own political parties.”
However, in another indication of a widening crackdown on Islamist supporters of the ousted president, Egyptian state media reported Thursday that the public prosecutor had ordered the arrest of the Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood and his influential deputy Khairat el-Shater on charges of incitement to kill demonstrators. The organization publicly urged its members to eschew violence through the uprising that led to Morsi’s ouster.
But the flagship state newspaper Al Ahram said the two Islamist leaders were suspected of a role in the deaths of eight protesters, six by gunshots, while attacking and burning the Muslim Brotherhood’s headquarters earlier this week.
Shortly before Mansour was sworn in, the skies over the capital, Cairo, filled with military jets in a series of flybys, news reports said. The state-run MENA news agency had reported that the flights were meant to “celebrate the triumph of popular will.”
Tahrir Square, where tens of thousands of opponents of the government had gathered each night since Sunday to demand Morsi’s removal, erupted in fireworks and jubilation on Wednesday night at news of the ouster, but by Thursday the city was reported calm.
At a square near the presidential palace where Morsi’s Islamist supporters had gathered, men broke into tears and vowed to stay until he was reinstated or they were forcibly removed. “The dogs have done it and made a coup against us,” they chanted on Wednesday. “Dying for the sake of God is more sublime than anything,” a speaker declared.
Morsi rejected the generals’ actions as a “complete military coup.”
Military vehicles and soldiers in riot gear had surrounded the rally in the hours before the takeover, and tensions escalated through the night. Within hours, at least seven people had died and more than 300 were injured in clashes in 17 provinces between Morsi’s supporters and either civilian opponents or security forces.
By the end of the night, Morsi was in military custody and blocked from all communications, one of his advisers said, and many of his senior aides were under house arrest. Egyptian security forces had arrested at least 38 senior leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, including Saad el-Katatni, the chief of the group’s political party, and others were being rounded up as well, security officials said. No immediate reasons were given for the detentions.
For Morsi, it was a bitter and ignominious end to a tumultuous year of bruising political battles that ultimately alienated millions of Egyptians. Having won a narrow victory, his critics say, he broke his promises of an inclusive government and repeatedly demonized his opposition as traitors. With the economy crumbling, and with shortages of electricity and fuel, anger at the government mounted.
The generals built their case for intervention in a carefully orchestrated series of maneuvers, calling their actions an effort at a “national reconciliation” and refusing to call their takeover a coup. At a televised news conference late on Wednesday night, Gen. Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi said that the military had no interest in politics and was ousting Morsi because he had failed to fulfill “the hope for a national consensus.”
Under a “road map” for a post-Morsi government devised by a meeting of civilian, political and religious leaders, the general said, the Constitution would be suspended, Mansour would become acting president, and plans would be expedited for new parliamentary and presidential elections under an interim government.
At the White House, President Obama urged the military to move quickly to return Egypt to a democratically elected government, saying, “We are deeply concerned by the decision of the Egyptian Armed Forces to remove President Morsi and suspend the Egyptian Constitution.” The president notably did not refer to the military’s takeover as a coup — a phrase that would have implications for the $1.3 billion a year in American military aid to Egypt.
Still, there was no mistaking the threat of force and signs of a crackdown. Armored military vehicles rolled through the streets of the capital, surrounded the presidential palace and ringed in the Islamists. The intelligence services put travel bans on Morsi and other top Brotherhood leaders. The Brotherhood’s satellite television network was removed from the air along with two other popular Islamist channels. The police arrested at least two prominent Islamist television hosts and many others who worked at those channels, as well as people who worked at a branch of the Al Jazeera network considered sympathetic to Morsi, security officials said. And state television resumed denouncing the Brotherhood as it once did under Mubarak.
Moments after the General Sisi spoke late Wednesday, Morsi released a short video over a presidential Web site delivering a final, fiery speech denouncing the ouster. “I am the elected president of Egypt,” he declared. “I am ready to sit down and for everybody to sit with me and to negotiate with everybody.”
“The revolution is being stolen from us,” he repeated.
Minutes later, the Web site was shut down, the video disappeared and he e-mailed journalists a statement “as the president of the Republic and the Chief Commander of the Armed Forces” urging all to follow the rules of the recently approved Constitution. Then he called the takeover “a complete military coup which is categorically rejected by all the free people of the country who have struggled so that Egypt turns into a civil democratic society.”
Brotherhood leaders urged Islamists to resist. “The people will not surrender,” Essam el-Erian, a senior Brotherhood political leader, declared on the group’s satellite channel before it disappeared from the air.
Lastupdate on : Thu, 4 Jul 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 4 Jul 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 5 Jul 2013 00:00:00 IST
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