Revolution part 2: The fall of Mohamed Morsi
In response to millions of Egyptians taking to streets, army and number of political and religious leaders propose roadmap aimed at ending year of unrest
Mary Mourad, Wednesday 3 Jul 2013
Today's milestone marks a new phase in the Egyptian revolution, one which many had awaited since Mubarak stepped down in February 2011. The statement, read out by military chief-of-staff Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, describes a roadmap that includes the ousting of President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, suspending the constitution temporarily, and handing over power to the head of Egypt's High Constitutional Court.
The roadmap, which various political and religious figures participated in drafting, includes forming a committee for revising the constitution, formation of a council for "national reconciliation," revising laws for parliamentary elections and holding early presidential elections.
Attendees at the press conference where El-Sisi gave his speech included a number of top military and police officials who sat in two rows on either side of the podium.
They included the Coptic Orthodox patriarch Tawadros II, the grand imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed El-Tayyeb, Mohamed ElBaradei, a representative of the Salafist Nour Party, Mohamed Abdel-Aziz, one of the anti-Morsi Rebel campaign's founders, and a senior judicial figure. The Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party refused to join the meeting.
The statement was received with enthusiasm and cheers by anti-Morsi protesters to close the first chapter of the Egyptian revolution and mark the end of the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The army took these actions following the massive demonstrations, marches and sit-ins that started on 30 June throughout the country. According to some estimates, as many as 17 million Egyptians took to the streets.
The historically unprecedented turnout shook the country and was expected to cause pressure on the presidency. Limited violence erupted leaving 34 dead and a few hundred injured, but no massive or organised violence erupted.
The army was the first to come out with a statement on Monday, 1 July giving a 48-hour ultimatum for political forces to come together to "fulfil the people's demands" or the army would present a roadmap for the country including all political currents. The police followed suit to announce that they were siding with the Egyptian people and protecting protestors.
A speech by President Mohamed Morsi on midnight, 1 July came in reaction to the army statement, calling any attempt to overthrow legitimacy a call for civil war and saying that he was willing to shed his own blood to protect it. Meanwhile, clashes took place in Giza, west of Cairo, leaving 17 dead and hundreds injured before the police finally intervened.
Hours before the end of the 48-hour deadline, the general commanders of the Egyptian Armed Forces met, headed by Defence Minister Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi. They called for meetings with representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), Tamarod (Rebel) campaign, ultra-conservative Salafist Nour Party, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, and Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II, as well as Mohamed ElBaradei, who was delegated by the 30 June Front and the National Salvation Front (NSF).
Earlier Wednesday, 3 July, Tamarod stressed its demands for Morsi to step down. At the same time, the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy refused any calls for negotiations with the army, calling any non-constitutional step a military coup.
The alliance was formed on the Friday before the demonstrations to support Morsi. It is led by the Muslim Brotherhood and includes the moderate-Islamist Wasat Party, the Salafist Watan Party and Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya's Building and Development Party.
The spark of action against the president started with the Rebel campaign in May calling to withdraw confidence from the president. Against all expectations, the campaign gathered a lot of public support, leading many opposition leaders and public figures to back the movement and support it publicly until it succeeded in gathering 22 million signatures.
The signatures were to be submitted to the prosecutor-general on 30 June, the anniversary of Morsi's inauguration, to demand he step down.
Rebel, together with the NSF, 6 April and other groups, formed the June 30 Front, which called for mass demonstrations on 30 June to request Morsi step down.
Meanwhile, fuel and electricity shortages caused public anger and unrest throughout the country, fuelling the signature drive, deepening the crisis. A minor cabinet change and a gubernatorial shuffle that brought many Islamists and Muslim Brotherhood members to public office hastened the unrest and signalled increasing disturbance.
Morsi also hosted a large celebration in Cairo on 22 June where he announced support for the Syrian revolution against the regime, which came only one day after a US announcement to the same effect. The army's reactions to these statements apparently had not been favorable.
Morsi refused any compromises, either to change individuals or take actions to slow or stop the crisis. A public speech the president gave days before 30 June was awaited with eagerness in hopes it might offer some answers to mitigate the situation. But the speech only addressed the president's "achievements" and asked the opposition not to get dragged by remnants of old regime into burning the country.
One Year in Brief
The Muslim Brotherhood leader, Mohamed Morsi, took power in 30 June 2012 following a number of alliances formed with pro-revolution groups and various political powers. Throughout his first year in office, he turned his back on a number of promises given to the Egyptian people and to his electoral alliance, most significant of which was the re-formulation of the constituent assembly tasked with drafting a new constitution.
Not only did Morsi continue with the Islamist-leaning constituent assembly, but Morsi forced a constitutional declaration ahead of the completion of the constitution, giving himself legislative and executive powers and securing the Shura Council against judicial oversight.
This led to significant anger in the streets that turned violent near Cairo's presidential palace in December 2012, where a number of non-Islamists were killed allegedly by a Brotherhood militia. The National Salvation Front (NSF) was formed as coalition of political parties, movements and activists to oppose the constitutional declaration.
Anger only escalated following the referendum to pass the new constitution against all opposition requests to review it. The constitution eventually passed with a 63 percent majority, but the hoped-for stability never materialised, and the worsening economic crisis was aggravated by instability and a security vacuum.
Currency devaluation, fuel shortages, electricity cuts and dwindling tourism only pointed to an unstable regime that is heading downhill, yet the Muslim Brotherhood and the president gave no indication that a plan was underway to reverse the trend beyond statements and temporary international loans.
this article copied from ahram online
21:02 Here we go. Chief of Egyptian armed forces, Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, is speaking live on Egyptian television.
The armed forces would never turn a blind eye towards the aspirations of the Egyptian people.21:06 El-Sisi continues:
The armed forces will always be out of politics. The Egyptian people called on the armed forces to fulfill the goals of the revolution.
The armed forces understood the demands of the Egyptian people. We are committed to fulfilling our responsibility.
Since November 2012, we have called for a national dialogue, which was accepted by all parties except the presidency.
We have made many proposals to get out of the current crisis.21:10 The speech is over. There are massive celebrations going on at anti-Morsi rallies in Tahrir Square and Ittihadiya presidential palace in Cairo.
We met with the Egyptian president on 30 June, 2013, during which we rejected any threat to the Egyptian people.
We were hoping for reconciliation that would fulfill the aspirations of the people.
However, the president's address did not live up to the expectations of the Egyptian people.
So we called for a meeting involving different parties, without excluding anyone.
Our roadmap consists of: 1- Suspending the constitution.
2-Holding early presidential elections. The High Constitutional Court head will be in charge of the country until then.
3-Forming a national coalition government.
4-Forming a committee to look into amendments of the constitution.
Taking measures to include the Egyptian youth in the decision-making process.
The armed forces call on the great Egyptian people to abstain from violence and resort to peaceful protest.
We salute the armed forces for their repeated sacrifices for the sake of the county.
21:12 It looks like Misr 25, the Egyptian Brotherhood-run television channel, is off air.
21:15 El-Sisi's speech specified that the constitution will be suspended temporarily; the head of the High Constitutional Court will take over the presidency and have power until early presidential elections, that will be followed by parliamentary elections - dates as yet unspecified - and there will be a national technocratic cabinet formed. A parliamentary elections law will be reviewed by the HCC to stage parliamentary elections; there will be a committee formed to amend controversial articles in the temporarily suspended constitution; there will be a media code of ethics to guarantee the media’s professionality; and a committee for national reconciliation will be formed.
21:20 It looks like several other Islamist-run channels including Hafez and Al-Nas are off air.
21:25 The Brotherhood's FJP just tweeted "history will tell that the first decision of the military coup, in which the advocates of democracy participated, is putting off air all opposition channels," a reference to the Brotherhood's channel and other Islamist owned channels being blacked out after El-Sisi's announcement.
21:28 The grand sheikh of Al-Azhar said that he supported the call for early presidential elections based on an Islamic precept that the better of two evils is a religious duty,. Accordingly, those gathered decided to hold early presidential elections, their fairness guaranteed by the judiciary, the armed forces and the police.
21:30 Liberal politician Mohamed ElBaradei spoke at the army-held press conference. He says the roadmap drawn up by the military will guarantee the fulfillment of Egyptians' main demand – early presidential elections.
"I hope that will mark the beginning of a new era for the 2011 January revolution," he added.
21:32 Attendees at the press conference where El-Sisi gave his speech included a number of top military and police officials who sat in two rows on either side of the podium; the Coptic Orthodox patriarch Tawadros II; the grand imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed El-Tayyeb; ElBaradei; a representative of Nour Party; Mohamed Abdel-Aziz, one of the anti-Morsi Rebel campaign's founders; and a senior judicial figure.
21:34 The head of Egypt's High Constitutional Court, the most senior Egyptian court, is Adly Mansour. He was promoted to the position in June.
21:50 The official website of the Muslim Brotherhood, Ikhwan Online, writes that the military’s announcement is a "conspiracy against legitimacy, a military coup that wastes popular will and brings Egypt back to despotism."
The statement continued: "Religious scholars condemn the coup and affirm the necessity of upholding the elected president. Symbols of the defunct regime are coming back to the scene at the expense of the blood of the martyrs of the 25 January."
The statement also claimed that "millions in many squares in Egypt have started a sit-in in support of legitimacy."The website also reported that armed forces, deployed a few hours ago around Rabaa Al-Adawiya Mosque, are personally searching everyone getting into the pro-Morsi sit-in and preventing people from chanting in support of Morsi except after they’re inside the square.
21:52 Mohamed Morsi has announced on the official Facebook page of the presidency that the announcement made by the armed forces is a coup and that he rejects it. He said that as president and head of the armed forces he calls on all civil and military citizens to abide by constitution and law and not respond to the coup.
Police forces went to the Media Production City in Cairo's 6 October satellite city, where the offices and studios of these channels are located, and evacuated them. The police also arrested some of the staff working for these channels.
22:00 The interior ministry has released a statement upholding the army's announcement. The statement says that the army's roadmap fulfills "the people’s will and their interests" and stressed that the police stand by the armed forces in efforts to achieve the country’s security and stability.
There has clearly been a lot of coordination between the military and the police over recent days, as shown in supportive statements like these.
22:10 Nader Bakkar, spokesperson of the Salafist Nour Party, says on his official Twitter account that his party has taken part in setting the new transition roadmap which removed Morsi from the presidency.
Leading Freedom and Justice Party member Islam Abdel-Fattah responded to Bakkar’s statement calling the Salafist Party "traitors."
The Nour Party, formerly allies of Morsi and the Brotherhood, have distanced themselves in recent months.
22:40 Bashar Al-Assad, president of Syria, has said that events in Egypt are "the fall of what is called political Islam," reports Reuters. Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood had been vocal opponents of the Syrian president, calling for foreign intervention against him.