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  Egypt opposition gives Morsi a day to quit

Jul 1, 2013 12:58

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. Photo Credit: U.N. Photo/Marco Castro.

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. Photo Credit: U.N. Photo/Marco Castro.
CAIRO (VOR/AFP) – Egypt’s opposition Monday gave Islamist Mohamed Morsi a day to quit or face civil disobedience after deadly protests demanded the country’s first democratically elected president step down after just a year in office.

“We give Mohamed Morsi until 5 p.m. on Tuesday, July 2 to leave power, allowing state institutions to prepare for early presidential elections,” the Tamarod movement said in a statement on its website.

Otherwise, “Tuesday, 5 p.m. will be the beginning of a complete civil disobedience campaign.”

Voice of Russia assistant producer Paige Anderson reports:

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In Cairo, the seat of the powerful Muslim Brotherhood from which Morsi hails was set ablaze before people stormed and looted it, an AFP correspondent said.

People were seen leaving with petrol bombs, helmets, flak jackets, furniture, televisions and documents.

“This is a historic moment. The Brotherhood ruined the country, so stealing from them is justified,” protester Mohammed told AFP.

Tamarod — Arabic for Rebellion — is a grassroots campaign which says it collected more than 22 million signatures declaring a lack of confidence in Morsi.

It was behind Sunday’s protests that saw millions of people pour onto the streets demanding his departure on the first anniversary of his inauguration.

As Morsi stood firm and insisted the only way forward was dialogue, calls for army intervention increased.

Tamarod urged state institutions to support the protesters, calling on “the army, the police and the judiciary to clearly side with the popular will as represented by the crowds”.

Opposition leader Hamdeen Sabbahi urged military intervention if Morsi refused to quit.

The army, which led a tumultuous transition after Mubarak, had already warned it would intervene if there was major unrest.

“The armed forces must act, because they have always been on the side of the people” which “has expressed its will”, said Sabbahi, who was third in the 2012 presidential election.

The best outcome would be for Morsi to go willingly, he added.

But Morsi’s spokesman Ehab Fahmy told reporters: “Dialogue is the only way through which we can reach an understanding… The presidency is open to a real and serious national dialogue.”

Five people were killed in clashes late on Sunday and another person died overnight from injuries, a health ministry official said.

Television pictures showed the Muslim Brotherhood building in Cairo burning as people pelted it with petrol bombs.

Brotherhood supporters fired buckshot in a bid to repel the attackers, an AFP journalist said. Later, automatic weapons fire was heard.

In Tahrir Square, where hundreds of protesters spent the night, demonstrators blew whistles and chanted anti-Morsi slogans around tents.

Outside the presidential palace, hundreds of others staged a sit-in after the army estimated that millions had heeded the opposition call to protest.

Sunday’s turnout — on the first anniversary of Morsi’s inauguration — was described as the largest protest in Egyptian history.

“Long live the people,” read Monday’s headline in the independent daily al-Tahrir, while Al-Masry al-Youm called it the “June 30 revolution”.

Anti-Morsi protests were held in the coastal city of Alexandria, the Nile Delta cities of Mansura, Menuf, Tanta and Mahalla, the canal cities of Suez and Port Said and the president’s hometown Zagazig.

In Tahrir Square, protesters brandished red cards and Egyptian flags as patriotic songs played.

“The people want the ouster of the regime,” they chanted, echoing the signature slogan of the 2011 revolt that ousted Hosni Mubarak and eventually brought Morsi to power.

His supporters have staged counter rallies to defend his legitimacy and there had been fears of major confrontations.

But Sunday’s anti-government protests eclipsed the loyalists’ gathering in Cairo’s Nasr City neighbourhood, which the army estimated attracted some 25,000 people.

Police and troops had deployed at key buildings nationwide, including at vital Suez Canal installations.

Hospitals also went on high alert as banks and most offices closed on Sunday, a working day.

Last week, eight people including an American were killed and scores were injured as rival demonstrators clashed.

Morsi, previously a senior Brotherhood leader, is Egypt’s first freely elected president, catapulted to power by the uprising that ended three decades of Mubarak rule.

His opponents accuse him of betraying the revolution by concentrating power in Islamist hands and of sending the economy into freefall.

Morsi supporters say he inherited many problems from a corrupt regime, and that he should be allowed to complete term which ends in 2016.

Any attempt to remove him would be a coup against democracy, they say.

Opponents insist calls for his resignation are aimed at restoring the revolution’s cornerstones of democracy, freedom and social justice.

Anderson reported from Washington, D.C.

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Egyptian Army to Morsi: You Have 48 Hours to Solve This Mess

As protests supporting and opposing Morsi mounted, Egypt’s army set an ultimatum for the President
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By David Lev

First Publish: 7/1/2013, 5:40 PM

Anti-Morsi protesters in Tahrir square in Cairo

Anti-Morsi protesters in Tahrir square in Cairo
Reuters

In a statement Monday afternoon, Egypt’s top general, Abd al-Fatah a-Sisi, warned President Mohammed Morsi that he had 48 hours to resolve the crisis in Egypt. If he did not, the army would “intervene.” The army would expect Morsi to lay out a road map of steps he plans to take to “satisfy the will of the people,” and restore calm; otherwise, he said, the army would take control of the country.

At a press conference, a-Sisi said that the Egyptian people “had made their will very clear.” He stressed that the army’s sole interest was in restoring calm and ensuring that daily life did not descend into chaos, and that the army was not taking sides.

Analysts said that with the statement, a-Sisi had basically sealed Morsi’s fate. It was unlikely that protesters would be satisfied with anything less than his resignation, and if he did not resign, the army would make him do so.

The announcement by a-Sisi followed the resignation of four of Morsi’s ministers – those of the tourism, parliamentary affairs, communications and environmental ministries – on Monday afternoon. The resignations are expected to increase the pressure on Morsi to step down himself, or at least call new elections, a move he has absolutely refused to consider so far.

Read More  Here

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Morsi Aide: Egyptian Army Can’t Oust President Without ‘American Approval’

John Glaser, July 01, 2013

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There is a bit of déjà vu happening in Egypt right now: as mass protests against the Morsi regime continue to grow, the Egyptian army gave the regime a 48-hour ultimatum, threatening direct military involvement in the political process “if the demands of the people are not realized.” In other words, if Morsi doesn’t either step down or call for early elections, the army will move to unseat him, just as happened when the protest movement prompted the ouster of Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

But, as the Guardian is reporting, the Morsi regime believes that is impossible unless the Washington wants new leadership.

The head of Egypt’s armed forces, General Abdel Fattah Sisi, threatened direct military involvement in the political process “if the demands of the people are not realised”, in a statement implying that Morsi should either step down or at least call early elections.

The presidency indicated that it viewed the statement as a coup d’etat, and implied that Morsi was safe as long as his administration still had US support.

“Obviously we feel this is a military coup,” a presidential aide said. “But the conviction within the presidency is that [the coup] won’t be able to move forward without American approval.”

This should serve as a much-needed corrective to claims that the Obama administration relinquished America’s imperial holdings in Egypt and allowed the democratic process post-Mubarak to take hold unencumbered. As Egypt’s ruler’s see it, so long as the overlords in Washington want them to stay in power, then stay in power they will – regardless of what the public desires.

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The Hill

Obama declines to call for resignation of Egypt’s president

By Julian Pecquet 07/01/13 11:19 AM ET

President Obama on Monday declined to call for the resignation of embattled Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi despite the massive protests calling for his ouster.

Obama said the White House is “concerned” about the outbreak of violence in Egypt and is monitoring the situation closely. But the president said Morsi’s election was “legitimate” and called on all parties in Egypt to return to the negotiating table.

“Our position has always been, it’s not our job to choose who Egypt’s leaders are,” Obama told reporters in Tanzania. “When I took a position that it was time for Egypt to transition [away from Hosni Mubarak in 2011], it was based on the fact that Egypt had not had democratic government for decades, if ever. And that’s what the people were calling for.”

Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Egyptians took to the streets over the weekend to demand that Morsi step down. Egypt’s military on Monday threatened to intervene if the uprising against the Muslim Brotherhood leader lasts another 48 hours.

Obama said U.S. policy towards Egypt — including whether to continue providing $1.5 billion in annual aid — wouldn’t change based on “counting the number of heads in a protest march.”

“We’re going to continue to work with all parties inside of Egypt to try to channel this through legal, legitimate processes,” Obama said, while calling on all parties to “step back from maximalist positions.”

Read More  Here

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‘Biggest protest in Egypt’s history’: LIVE UPDATES

Published time: June 30, 2013 21:38
Edited time: July 01, 2013 21:43

Protesters take part in a protest demanding that Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi resign at Tahrir Square in Cairo July 1, 2013.(Reuters / Mohamed Abd El Ghany)

Protesters take part in a protest demanding that Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi resign at Tahrir Square in Cairo July 1, 2013.(Reuters / Mohamed Abd El Ghany)

Millions have taken to the streets across Egypt to demand the resignation of President Morsi on the first anniversary of his inauguration. But Morsi loyalists are staging counter-demonstrations, saying they will defend the leader with all means available.

21:34 GMT: Egyptian Armed Forces spokesman Ahmed Ali said that Egyptian military doctrine does not allow for “military coups” in a statement posted Monday to Facebook.

“Egyptian Armed Forces’ doctrines do not include military coups as a policy. The armed forces already deployed on Egypt’s streets in 1977, 1987 and 2011 and this did not lead to a coup, but rather [led the army] to stand with the will of the great Egyptian people and their desire for reform and change,” the statement said.

19:38 GMT: Egypt’s armed forces have banned the president and his entourage from leaving the country, ITAR-Tass reported.

19:20 GMT: Egypt’s second largest Islamist party, the Nour Party, says it fears the army’s return to public life in a “big way” after the military gave politicians 48 hours to resolve the country’s crisis.

On its Facebook page, the party called for Morsi to take the “number and diversity” of the demonstrators into consideration and “realize the Egyptian people have legitimate demands that must be answered.”

19:04 GMT: The Egyptian Brotherhood’s Twitter says a statement will be issued “shortly.”

18:57 GMT: The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party has denied that Khairat al-Shater’s bodyguards were arrested.

18:32 GMT: The headquarters of the moderate Egyptian Islamist Wasat party has been set on fire.

18:30 GMT: President Mohamed Mursi is meeting the head of Egypt’s armed forces along with the prime minister, according to a statement on the president’s official Facebook page.

17:55 GMT: A Morsi aide has called the army’s ultimatum a “military coup,” the Guardian reported.

“Obviously we feel this is a military coup,” the presidential aide said. “But the conviction within the presidency is that [the coup] won’t be able to move forward without American approval.”

17:17 GMT: A house belonging to Shater has reportedly been attacked by “armed thugs.”

16: 20 GMT: Fifteen bodyguards of Brotherhood leader Khairat al-Shater have been arrested by security forces, Reuters reported, citing “security sources.” Shater’s family reportedly phone Al Jazeera to report that his home was under police attack. The sources said security forces were involved in an exchange of fire with the guards after going to arrest them for unlawful possession of firearms.

14:36 GMT: Egypt’s army will not be involved in politics or government, Egypt armed forces chief Abdul Fattah al-Sisi said in a statement. He wants politicians to agree on an inclusive road map for the country’s future, but says the army will offer its own road map if politicians fail to come to a solution in 48 hours.

Sisi added that the “national security of the state is at risk, due to the developments taking place in the country.”

14:33 GMT: Egypt’s army gives politicians 48 hours to meet the demands of the people.

14:01 GMT:

13:50 GMT: Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Kandil has reportedly rejected the resignation requests from four members of the cabinet: the ministers for tourism, communication and information technology, minister of state for legal and parliamentary affairs and minister of state for environmental affairs.

12:00 GMT: The Muslim Brotherhood is considering action to defend itself, following ransacking of the party’s headquarters by protesters earlier on Monday.

It’s very dangerous for one entity in society to take up violence as a means of change because it may entice others to do so. The Muslim Brotherhood is a disciplined organization,” said Gehad El-Haddad, spokesman of the Islamist movement, as cited by Reuters. He added the armed men who ransacked the party’s HQ had crossed a red line of violence.

 

Looters carry furniture and other objects out of the Muslim Brotherhood's headquarters after it was burned down by protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi in Cairo's Moqattam district July 1, 2013. (Reuters / Amr Dalsh)

Looters carry furniture and other objects out of the Muslim Brotherhood’s headquarters after it was burned down by protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi in Cairo’s Moqattam district July 1, 2013. (Reuters / Amr Dalsh)

Haddad said self-defense units might be created to curb violence. Those units are going to be similar to the people’s self-defense committees which were created during the 2011 uprising that overthrew former President Hosni Mubarak.

11:50 GMT: Four Egyptian ministers quit Morsi’s cabinet, according to a government official. The four are Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou, Communication and Information Technology Minister Atef Helmi, Minister of State for Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Hatem Bagato and Minister of State for Environmental Affairs Khaled Abdel-Aal. According to the earlier report by the state news agency the ministers were considering resigning in sympathy with the protesters.

11:00 GMT: The Egyptian Health Ministry has announced that 16 people died in Sunday’s anti-government protests in Egypt. Previous estimates put the number of deaths at seven.

08:50 GMT: Egyptian protesters again stormed the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in Cairo after a night of massive protests. Witnesses reported ransacking of the HQ, including throwing things out of the windows and leaving with furniture and other items. There were no Brotherhood members inside the building, AFP reported. 

 

 

Egyptians opposed to President Mohamed Morsi set fire to the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in Almoqatam district during clashes in Cairo on June 30, 2013. (AFP Photo)

Egyptians opposed to President Mohamed Morsi set fire to the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in Almoqatam district during clashes in Cairo on June 30, 2013. (AFP Photo)

 

Egyptians gather outside the burnt headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Moqattam district of Cairo on July 1, 2013 after it was set ablaze by opposition demonstrators overnight. (AFP Photo / Khaled Desouki)

Egyptians gather outside the burnt headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Moqattam district of Cairo on July 1, 2013 after it was set ablaze by opposition demonstrators overnight. (AFP Photo / Khaled Desouki)

05:00 GMT: Early morning at the Tahrir Square is peaceful, though anti-Morsi protesters remain there as the rally described as the biggest in Egypt’s, and possibly world’s, history enters its second day. Dozens of tents are stationed at the Tahrir, with people obviously ready for long-term camping out.

03:00 GMT: An Egyptian military source told Reuters that as many as 14 million people in the nation of 84 million took part in Sunday’s protests across the country. Despite no independent way to verify this estimate, some international media outlets have said that this could have been the largest demonstartion seen in the history of the world.

01:42 GMT: The latest video from RT’s Ruptly video news agency shows crowds of anti-Morsi protesters in Cairo.

00:56 GMT:

 

00:33 GMT: The death toll in Sunday’s clashes between supporters and opponents of President Morsi across Egypt has risen to seven. Two people have been killed during violence outside the Muslim Brotherhood’s headquarters in Cairo, medical officials say. Five others were shot in a town around the south of Cairo, one in Beni Suef and another in Fayoum and three in Assiut. At least 600 were injued, medical and security sources told Reuters.

 

Protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi throw Molotov cocktails and stones at the national headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo's Moqattam district June 30, 2013. (Reuters)

Protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi throw Molotov cocktails and stones at the national headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo’s Moqattam district June 30, 2013. (Reuters)

00:20 GMT: “Tamarod” (Rebellion) movement – the backbone of Egypt’s resistance – has released a statement  demanding President Mohammed Morsi step down by Tuesday at 5pm. The movement also called on “police, army and judiciary” to support the people’s will. If Morsi fails to resign by Tuesday, civil disobedience will continue throughout the country.

Monday, July 1

23:39 GMT: Reports emerge that a number of people have been injured at the Muslim Brotherhood’s headquarters in Mokattam, Cairo, Ahram Online reports. The location is seeing ongoing clashes between those inside the building and the attackers. Slingshots and possibly live ammunition are being used. Earlier protesters threw Molotov cocktails.

23:30 GMT: Tens of political parties and groups forming the “30 June Coordinating Committee” released a statement thanking the protesters and calling to end political repression.

 

Protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi shout slogans and set off fireworks during a protest in front of El-Thadiya presidential palace in Cairo June 30, 2013. (Reuters)

Protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi shout slogans and set off fireworks during a protest in front of El-Thadiya presidential palace in Cairo June 30, 2013. (Reuters)

We thank the Egyptian people who have revolted in their millions for a free Egypt, free of fascism, tyranny and injustice,” the statement read, while at the same time denouncing Morsi. “The presidency has released a statement belittling us and our legitimate demands and our million man marches all over Egypt’s squares.”

The committee promised to “stand behind the people and their just demands” and calls for further action by “all democratic means to demonstrate, hold sit-ins and strikes and besiege all state institutions and we demand the trial of all those responsible for torture, killing and announcing edicts inciting against the people and calls for terrorism which was called for by the Muslim Brotherhood.”

22:43 GMT:

 

22:05 GMT: The leader of Egypt’s Islamist Nour party, Younis Makhyoun,  presented himself on Sunday as a mediator with protesters and urged Morsi to make concessions to avert bloodshed on the streets. “There must be concessions, even if they are difficult and bitter, to safeguard the blood of Egyptians,” Makhyoun said. “We are worried about an escalation that will be hard to control, and that guns will have the loudest voice.”

 

Protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi gather near a lit a flare during a protest at Tahrir Square in Cairo June 30, 2013. (Reuters)

Protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi gather near a lit a flare during a protest at Tahrir Square in Cairo June 30, 2013. (Reuters)

21:50 GMT: Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi knows he has made mistakes and is working to fix them, his spokesman Omar Amer said on Sunday as massive anti-government demonstartions engulfed the coutnry.

 


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