Egypt’s military has removed Mohammed Morsi from power, installing a technocrat in his place temporarily. Anti-Morsi protesters celebrated as fighting between security forces and Islamists erupted in hotspots around the country. Here’s how The Times of Israel live-blogged a tumultuous day.
Army deadline approaching
Military forces took over the state-run television center in Cairo on Wednesday afternoon, as the deadline for the Egyptian army’s ultimatum for embattled President Mohammed Morsi to step down approaches.
Over the last several days, Egypt has been in the throes of a popular revolution reminiscent of 2011, when strongman Hosni Mubarak was thrown from power. Since Sunday, millions of Egyptians have taken to the streets, demanding the ouster of Morsi and new elections. Morsi supporters have also taken to the streets in support of the Islamist president. At least 39 people have died and hundreds have been injured since the protests began.
On Tuesday, the Egyptian army gave Morsi 48 hours to concede to the protesters’ demands, but the president remained defiant and said he would protect his “constitutional legitimacy” with his life, setting the stage from a dramatic showdown.
The army did not specify when their deadline would expire, but opposition leaders said it was between 4 and 5 p.m. Egypt time (5 or 6 p.m. Israel time).
Al-Ahram thinks Morsi will be out by 4:30
Arab world correspondent Elhanan Miller notes in his roundup of Egyptian media that al-Ahram appears to have already been taken over by the military. The establishment daily reports, based on unnamed sources, that by 4:30 p.m. Egypt time, one of two things will happen: Morsi will have tendered his resignation or he will be dismissed from office under the “map for the future” drawn out by the military.
According to the daily, a number of Muslim Brotherhood leaders were placed under house arrest, Brotherhood funds were “put under surveillance” and “all active forces in the Muslim Brotherhood were put under control.”
Military officers in TV newsroom
Egyptian military officers are present in the state television newsroom, likely in advance of a countrywide broadcast, the Associated Press is reporting.
Princess from Egypt’s royal family dies
In somewhat related news, Princess Fawzia, a member of Egypt’s last royal family and the first wife of Iran’s later-deposed monarch, has died, Iranian opposition groups say. She was 92.
Fawzia died Tuesday in Egypt’s Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, the Paris-based opposition groups say, but no cause of death is immediately known.
She was the daughter of Egyptian King Fuad I, who ruled until 1936. Her brother and nephew later rose to the throne before the monarchy was toppled in 1953.
In 1939, Fawzia married Iran’s then-crown prince, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, who was overthrown in the 1979 Islamic Revolution. They divorced in 1945 after having one daughter.
Fawzia remarried in 1949 to an Egyptian army officer. She is to be buried Wednesday in Cairo. (AP)
Morsi capitulation would have regional implications
If Morsi does give in to the demands of the Egyptian army, it will have wide regional implications for Islamic movements across the Arab and Muslim world, Times of Israel Arab affairs correspondent Avi Issacharoff writes.
“Even if he doesn’t capitulate to the pressure, and opts to remain in office, he will be a weak president, bereft of real authorities or freedom to act, and he will eventually have to give up his seat,” Issacharoff says.
Morsi, so far, hasn’t given any indication that he will voluntarily leave office, and, according to a spokesman quoted by Reuters, is ready to “die ‘standing like a tree,’ defending the electoral legitimacy of his office.”
Hardline Islamist party calls for calm, more time
Egyptian Islamist group Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya, which carried out an armed insurgency against the Mubarak government in the 1990s, says more time is needed to solve the political crisis and urged its followers to remain calm.
“Getting through the current crisis requires more time, so the parties and political forces can reach a complete agreement,” they said in a statement, according to Reuters.
Conflicting reports on who controls state TV
Egypt’s Republican Guards are in control of the state television offices, not regular army units as was reported elsewhere, the Guardian’s Patrick Kingsley says.
Although an elite unit of the Egyptian army, the Republican Guards are nominally under the control of President Morsi and are responsible for, among other things, securing government locations in Cairo, meaning that the television station is likely not under army control after all.
Egyptians stream into Tahrir Square
A live feed from Tahrir Square shows hundreds of thousands of Egyptians streaming into Cairo’s Tahrir square chanting, waving flags, cheering and working themselves into what could be described as a frenzy. According to the Egypt Daily News, the protesters are chanting that the people and the police are one, a slogan reminiscent of 2011′s rallying cry that the people and the army are one.
— Joel Gulhane (@jgulhane) July 3, 2013
Waiting for statement as army meets with leaders
Egyptian military leaders are meeting with opposition and other figures ahead of an official statement.
“The General Command of the Armed Forces is currently meeting with a number of religious, national, political and youth icons … There will be a statement issued from the General Command as soon as they are done,” the army said in a post on its official Facebook page, according to a Reuters translation.
Everybody is waiting to hear what the Egyptian army will do. Al-Jazeera’s correspondent Nicole Johnson, at a rally of Morsi supporters in Giza, says everybody is calm and that “the ball is in the military’s court.”
‘A return to Egypt’s roots’
News editor Ilan Ben Zion reads Wednesday’s Hebrew press and finds the only columnist happy about the Egyptian counterrevolution: Haaretz’s Oudeh Basharat, who says that with Morsi’s possible deposition, “Egypt is returning to its roots. And Egyptian roots aren’t buried in violent religious profiteering or in the dictatorship of Mubarak, but in the magnificent heritage of Saad Zaghloul,” an early 20th century Egyptian leader who preached peaceful acquisition of independence from Britain, justice and freedom.
“The day will come when the dramatic waves of change in Egypt sweep the entire Middle East,” Basharat says, harking back two years to the Arab Spring’s beginning. “Israel, which is taking a position that contradicts the desire of the Egyptian people” in supporting Morsi’s rule, “would be wise to begin to change its way of thinking if it doesn’t want to find itself going against the current of the Arab Spring that is reawakening.”
Turkey calls on Egyptians to avoid violence, respect rule of law
Turkey, which has its own problems with violent anti-government protests, is calling on Egyptian authorities to respect the rule of law and the people’s will by sticking to democratic norms, diplomatic correspondent Raphael Ahren reports.
“Turkey sees the stability and security of brother and friend Egypt as crucially important for both our country and the region, and Turkey has always supported the free will of Egyptians in the Jan. 25 revolution,” the Foreign Ministry in Ankara said in an official statement, according to Hurriyet Daily News.
“We are deeply concerned about the ‘deadly incidents’ that occurred between groups which have different opinions,” the statement read, according to the paper. “All parties should make efforts to support Egypt’s unity, democratic institutions, stability, economic development and avoid all types of violence and provocation… It is always possible to find solutions to political and economic problems with dialogue where democratic mechanisms are operated.”
MB spokesman: ‘There’s no excuse for me not to step in front of a tank’
Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Gehad el-Haddad says, “There’s no excuse for me not to step in front of a tank… I’m not going to let my daughter or my son grow up in a country that I didn’t defend until my last breath,” according to Daily Beast correspondent Mike Giglio.
The Muslim Brotherhood rejected an offer to meet with ElBaradei and Egyptian army head al-Sisi earlier today, el-Haddad tweeted earlier, and suggested that the military is trying to impose ElBaredei on the Egyptian people. “Using military might to force an individual on the people of Egypt is unacceptable,” he said.
“The military is not a political actor to negotiate anything. It belongs in the barracks under the leadership of its commander in-chief,” he continued, in a striking display of wishful thinking.
Sex assaults ‘rampant’ in Tahrir
Around 100 women have been sexually assaulted over the last four days of mass protests in Tahrir Square, says Human Rights Watch, which alleges that the “rampant” attacks show the “failure of the government and all political parties to face up to the violence that women in Egypt experience on a daily basis,” according to a Sky News report.
Morsi offers ‘temporary unity government,’ but no mention of stepping down
In a statement published on the website of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice party, the presidency seems to reject the army’s ultimatum. It calls for national reconciliation, accusing “a number of political parties” of rejecting all government calls for national dialogue.
The statement calls for the formation of a “temporary unity government” pending parliamentary elections in the coming months. The new parliament will decide on a new prime minister. No word in the statement about the president resigning.
“Those who believe that Egypt will turn back and the constitutional legitimacy will be destroyed are mistaken. The legitimacy of force will not be applied to the brave Egyptian people,” reads the statement.
Amnesty accuses authorities of turning blind eye to violence
The Egyptian authorities are not doing enough to protect protesters from violence, Amnesty International claims, hinting that this “suspicious failure” to save lives might be politically motivated. The group says its researchers on the ground in Cairo have gathered evidence that shows that security forces have not been intervening or were dispatched too late to stop violence during the recent clashes.
“The security forces should have been more than ready to prevent and stop the kinds of deadly clashes that we’ve seen in the past three days,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International. “It is difficult to imagine that they could not have predicted the violence. This suspicious failure to prevent loss of life is a callous failure of their duty to protect lives and uphold human rights. Our evidence raises questions as to whether the failure to protect all protesters, regardless of their political affiliation, is the result of a deliberate policy by the security apparatus.” (Raphael Ahren)
Egypt could take decades to reach stability, MK says
Speaking as the last sands ran through the hourglass on the army’s ultimatum this afternoon, MK Yisrael Hasson (Kadima), a former deputy commander of the Shin Bet, expressed doubt that the Egyptian army would take control of the country and predicted a strong kickback from the Muslim Brotherhood.
“The flagship is in danger of sinking,” he told Army Radio, referring to the Muslim Brotherhood’s rise to power across large swaths of the Arab world and Egypt’s leading role in that sea change.
Hasson said that Egypt’s internal problems could not be solved within the coming years and that it would likely take “20 years” to attain true stability, if at all. Therefore, he predicted that the army will not take the reins of power into its own hands “because then they’ll be responsible.”
He said “I don’t know a single Egyptian who knows where this is going right now,” and suggested that the future held something between the Algerian model — bloodshed — and the Turkish model — a gradual and ultimately stable Islamist takeover.
The Algerian model was less likely in Egypt, he said, because the notion of the state as a common denominator remains quite strong. Nonetheless, he warned, the current conflict “could cost a whole lot of spilled blood.”
Finally, while acknowledging that the effects of further destabilization in Egypt could ripple toward Israel, he said that the country to the north was “ninth or tenth” on the Egyptians’ priority list right now “and I only say that out of politeness, because it could be 50th or 60th.”
Morsi’s statement likely a carrot too small for opposition
TOI’s Elhanan Miller says Morsi’s statement is unlikely to fulfill the demands of the opposition protesters, represented by the Tamarod (Rebel) movement and backed in full by the military.
The demonstrators have been demanding Morsi’s immediate resignation, suspension of the constitution drafting, and new presidential elections.
Morsi gave them none of that. Instead, he offered to form a coalition government (not a technocrat, nonpartisan government) ahead of parliamentary (not presidential) elections at an undefined future time, to determine the identity of Egypt’s prime minister, to replace Hisham Kandil. He blasted unnamed opposition parties for thwarting dialogue, and offered no word on the constitution.
As it seems at the moment, the military and the presidency remain on a direct collision course.
Live feed of Tahrir
Here’s a live feed of Cairo’s Tahrir square, where anti-Morsi protesters have massed to celebrate what they hope will be the end of his term as Egypt’s president.
ABC’s News reporter Jon Williams reports that the crowds in Tahrir are dancing and cheering.
Pro-Morsi rally calls for army chief to leave
A pro-Morsi rally has sprung up outside a Cairo mosque where Egyptians backing the Muslim Brotherhood have gathered to rally behind the president.
Holding placards with pictures of Morsi and waving Egyptian flags, the demonstrators are calling for army chief al-Sissi to step down.
According to Guardian’s Patrick Kingsley, the mood in the Muslim Brotherhood camp is “jovial.”
Next I spoke 2 Mhd Beltagy, another senior Bro. Agn, similar vibe. Anti-MB violence has already started, he said, as if he'd already dug in
— Patrick Kingsley (@PatrickKingsley) July 3, 2013
Readying for army statement
Opposition group April 6 Coalition tweets that Egypt’s radio frequencies have united in preparation for the army’s statement. (Elhanan Miller)
In a statement on Facebook, Egypt’s military confirms it is meeting with “religious, national, political and youth figures” and will issue a statement soon.
Coup may be beginning
Egypt may be seeing the beginnings of a military coup. Reuters reports that a national security adviser says that a coup is under way.
Establishment daily Al-Ahram reports that soldiers are deploying on the streets of Giza, on the outskirts of Cairo.
Top Morsi adviser: It’s a ‘military coup’
The armed forces are instigating a “military coup,” according to Morsi adviser Essam El Haddan, who is the president’s assistant for Foreign Relations and External Cooperation.
“As I write these lines I am fully aware that these may be the last lines I get to post on this page. For the sake of Egypt and for historical accuracy, let’s call what is happening by its real name: Military coup,” El Haddan wrote on his office’s official Facebook page.
In the lengthy statement, El Haddan said that he himself participated in the original 2011 Tahrir demonstrations, but the current round will delegitimize Egyptian democracy and lead to violence.
Warning of “considerable bloodshed,” El Haddan said that if the government falls, it will send a message that “democracy is not for Muslims.”
Morsi has offered considerable concessions to the protesters, who have some legitimate grievances, he said, but in a real democracy if the public is not satisfied with the government, “the president loses the next election or his party gets penalized in the upcoming parliamentary elections. Anything else is mob rule.”
‘Travel ban on Morsi’
A travel ban has been placed on president Mohammed Morsi and his top advisers, Agence France-Presse reports. A travel ban had been rumored earlier in the day and would be one of the first stages in removing Morsi from power.
Muslim Brotherhood official: Tanks in the streets
Tanks are moving through the streets of Cairo and Egypt is facing a complete military coup, according to Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad.
Palestinians bicker over Egypt response
Earlier today, PA President Mahmoud Abbas called on Palestinians not to intervene in the internal affairs of Egypt.
“We respect the will of the Egyptian people and hope that Egypt exits these trying times stronger so that it may continue leading the Arab world,” Abbas said according to official PA news agency WAFA.
But Hamas understood this statement as a backhanded critique of its policies, as independent Egyptian media has long accused Hamas of intervening in the Egyptian revolution and colluding with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Hamas official Salah Bardawil called the PA statement “cheap opportunism,” adding that “Hamas has never and will never intervene in the internal affairs of any Arab country,” the Palestinian Information Center, a Hamas news agency, reported.
US defense secretary talked with al-Sisi
Egyptian army head General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi talked with US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel yesterday to discuss the Egyptian crisis, a Pentagon spokesman says.
The two military leaders also spoke last week, Reuters reports. Pentagon representative George Little said that the calls were not previously disclosed due to the delicate situation facing Egypt.
President working from military barracks, aide says
An aide to Mohammed Morsi says the Egyptian president is still working from within a military barracks, Sky News reports. The British station quotes the aide saying it’s unclear whether Morsi is free to leave.
The president has reportedly called on Egyptians to resist the military takeover peacefully, according to an aide quoted by Reuters.
Islamists and soldiers reportedly fighting in the streets
Soldiers and Islamist Morsi supporters are battling at a pro-Morsi rally in Nasr City, New York Times reporter Kareem Fahim reports.
In a series of dramatic tweets, Fahim describes how soldiers approached the rally in armored vehicles, then deployed while wielding riot control gear.
Some of the pro-Morsi crowd then jumped on top of the vehicle, leading to a confrontation, and the soldiers fired in the air in an attempt to disperse the crowd.
Military vehicles heading in direction of pro Morsi rally pic.twitter.com/74n7NBWlpc
— Kareem Fahim (@kfahim) July 3, 2013
Soldiers dismounting with riot shields pic.twitter.com/YRYjP79ReV
— Kareem Fahim (@kfahim) July 3, 2013
Islamists climb on top of armoured vehicles. "Your our military!"
— Kareem Fahim (@kfahim) July 3, 2013
Troops heading to Tahrir, Cairo University
BBC Arabic reporter Claire Reed snaps a picture of armored military vehicles crossing the Oct. 6th bridge heading to Tahrir Square, where hundreds of thousands of anti-Morsi protesters are gathered.
Armoured vehicles that were just crossing 6th October bridge were heading in the direction of Tahrir Square pic.twitter.com/Gh79qyW7MB
— Claire Read (@clear_red) July 3, 2013
The BBC’s Jeremy Bowen reports that armored vehicles pulled into Cairo University, between opposing pro- and anti-Morsi rallies, leaving a light force of soldiers behind.
— Jeremy Bowen (@BowenBBC) July 3, 2013
New York Times’s Kareem Fahim says soldiers in Nasr City told Islamists that they are there for security, but some fear violence may explode at any minute.
Whatever the military decides, the situation is such that one side will explode in anger. Violence is imminent. #Egypt
— Sharif Kouddous (@sharifkouddous) July 3, 2013
Communications reportedly cut off with Morsi
Contact with President Morsi has been reportedly cut off and his whereabouts are unknown, according to the Muslim Brotherhood spokesman, who was giving an interview with CNN.
However, according to a presidential aide Morsi is holed up in his office at Republican Guard headquarters, the Guardian reports. The aid says that “nothing physical has happened yet” despite the large opposition crowd that is gathered outside.
New president must pay attention to all sectors, student leader says
“I don’t know who will replace Morsi,” Cairo University student union head Hesham Ashraf tells Channel 2 in a televised interview. Speaking excellent Hebrew, Ashraf says “the whole nation is afraid” but the people hope for a peaceful transition to new elections.
The new president this time, he says, “needs to be someone who deserves the opportunity… someone who will pay attention not just to the Muslim Brotherhood,” a reference to a central complaint of the protesters, that Morsi only follows a religious agenda and does not pay attention to other groups in Egyptian society.
Ashraf, an independent, beat out the Muslim Brotherhood candidate in March to become head of the student union at Egypt’s largest university.
Troops erect barbed wire outside barracks holding Morsi
Troops reportedly erect barbed wire fencing and other barriers around a Republican Guard barracks, where Morsi is said to be holed up, according to a Reuters journalist.
The army, which is also deploying troops at a pro-Morsi rally outside the Rabaa Adaweya Mosque, says it is only securing the area and seeking to protect Morsi from protesters.
A military helicopter flies over the presidential palace as opponents of Egypt’s Islamist President Mohammed Morsi protest in Cairo, Egypt, on Wednesday. (photo credit: AP/Nariman El-Mofty)
Meanwhile, protesters in Tahrir are continuing to chant loudly as fireworks explode all around. A military helicopter recently hovered overhead, eliciting strong cheers from the crowd.
Straight-faced Syrian minister calls on Morsi to leave
In the colors a pot calls a kettle department, Syria’s embattled regime has called on Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi to realize everyone wants him out and step down.
Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi told reporters in Damascus Wednesday that Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood is a “terrorist” organization and a “US” tool.”
Morsi last month enraged Syrian officials by announcing he was severing ties with Damascus and closing its embassy in the Syrian capital.
Syria’s own embattled leader, President Bashar Assad, is facing an insurgency at home. Assad has refused to step down, calling the revolt an international conspiracy. (With AP)
Morsi still president but situation fluid, US says
The US says that the situation in Egypt is fluid and cannot confirm if there is currently a military coup in process.
A “peaceful political resolution is the best option for Egypt,” US State Department representative Jen Psaki says in press conference, adding that all sides must take steps for dialogue and that President Morsi “must be more responsive” to the concerns of the Egyptian people.
Psaki says that the US has taken pains not to choose sides in the Egyptian crisis, but in reply to a question acknowledges that currently, the US still considers Morsi the democratically elected president of Egypt.
A separate, unconfirmed report indicates that the US embassy in Cairo, one of America’s largest and most fortified, has been closed for the time being, and is likely to remain so until the unrest is resolved.
Troops take positions in Alexandria
A photo posted to Twitter shows troops rolling into the coastal city of Alexandria.
— Amro Ali (@_amroali) July 3, 2013
An Egyptian military spokesman recently posted on Facebook that the army is not taking sides between supporters of President Mohammed Morsi and protesters.
“Our army is seeking to secure all Egyptians, regardless of their affiliations. We call on local and international media not to spread any inaccurate information that may drive a wedge between the army and the people,” the statement read, according to Al Jazeera.
Egyptian diplomats go on strike
A group of nearly one hundred Egyptian diplomats have gone on strike, Ahram Online reports. According to state media arm MENA, the diplomats are striking in solidarity with the protesters and are against the “failure of the president to meet the people’s demands.”
Army backed road map to be announced by ElBaradei, Pope Tawadros II
The military backed “road map” for a post-Morsi transitional period in Egypt is to be announced shortly by Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel Lauriate leader of the main opposition grouping, Pope Tawadros II, patriarch of Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority and Sheik Ahmed el-Tayeb, grand imam of al-Azhar mosque, Reuters reports, citing Egyptian state media.
Clashes reported in the Nile Delta, Sinai on high alert
At least ten people have been injured in clashes between Morsi supporters and protesters in the Nile Delta, north of Cairo, Ahram Online reports. The injuries were reportedly caused by bladed weapons and bird shot.
Egyptian forces are reportedly on high alert in the Sinai Peninsula. An earlier report indicated that the Suez Canal was functioning normally for maritime traffic.
Economic crisis at root of uprising
Egypt’s downward economic spiral lies at the root of the popular uprising against President Morsi, according to an excellent analysis at the Washington Post.
According to Caroline Freund, former World Bank chief economist for the Middle-East and North Africa, before the 2011 revolution Egypt was in a difficult position, because its economy was growing, but not enough to match its needs.
After the revolution, she said, political instability caused tourism, which accounts for some 10 percent of Egypt’s economy, to plummet, and policies instituted later by Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood exacerbated the situation.
Expected army announcement will be for transitional rule, then new elections
The army, along with opposition leaders and senior Muslim and Christian religious figures, will present a statement to the Egyptian people within the hour, according to an Egyptian army Facebook post.
State news agency MENA says that the “road map” will be a plan for a short period of military rule followed by open presidential and parliamentary elections, Reuters reports.
Multiple reports coming in of fireworks and celebrations at Tahrir Square and other sites.
Army told Morsi he was no longer president
The Egyptian army told President Morsi that he was no longer president at around 7 p.m., according to an anonymous source from Morsi’s inner circle, Ahram Online reports.
Several Islamic groups have come out against the army’s ultimatum and plan to remove Morsi from power, Ahram also reports, but Maha Abou Bakr, a senior opposition figure, has suggested an interim government comprised of leaders from across the political spectrum, including the Islamists.
Army makes statement
The Egyptian military is making a televised address, explaining their moves to remove Morsi from power today. More soon…
Constitution dissolved, early elections
Laying out a roadmap, the army chief says he is dissolving the constitution temporarily, calls for early elections for a president and new parliament.
Tahrir Square erupts in massively loud cheers.
Celebrations in Tahrir Square
Tahrir Square explodes in massive celebrations as army announces new roadmap, with masses of fireworks erupting in the sky and people breaking out with joy.
Pro-Morsi rally resigned
A somewhat more crestfallen scene at the pro-Morsi rally, with flags waving and people milling around. Army troops are on scene to keep violence from breaking out after the announcement that their man is likely out. A number of people are jumping and chanting, but the lion’s share of demonstrators are just standing, in seeming shock.
Constitution cancelled, early elections called
Egypt’s divisive constitution will be temporarily annulled, and “a committee that will include experts from all classes of people” will be created to draft a new one, the Egyptian Defense Minister said in its long-awaited announcement.
The head of the constitutional court will wield effective power during the interim period, and will “manage state affairs” until new, early presidential elections are called, he said.
The army “calls on the Supreme Constitutional Court to draft rules for new parliamentary elections, and to set up guidelines to achieve objectivity,” noting that youth and state institutions (a reference to the largely secular state bureaucracy) should have a hand in decisions.
“The Egyptian people from all walks of life” must protest peacefully, al-Sissi said, and the army will prosecute anyone who does not use peaceful means, he continued.
“May God protect the Egyptian people,” the army leader said in closing.
Following al-Sissi, other Egyptian leaders were expected to speak.
Islamic media off the air
Several Islamist television channels have been taken off the air, Ahram Online reports, including Hafez, al-Nas and the Muslim Brotherhood’s station, Misr 25.
Road map achieves basic demands of the Egyptian people, ElBaradei says
The military-backed road map achieves the basic demands of the Egyptian protesters, opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei says, adding that the map will achieve social justice for all Egyptian people and include everyone.
Morsi: Army in ‘full coup,’ announcement ‘rejected by all free men’
The Egyptian army announcement “is rejected by all free men who struggled for a civil, democratic Egypt,” the office of president Morsi says via Twitter.
“Measures announced by Armed Forces leadership represent a full coup, categorically rejected by all the free men of our nation,” the former president says.
Pres. Morsy: Armed Forces announcement is rejected by all free men who struggled for a civil democratic Egypt.
— Egyptian Presidency (@EgyPresidency) July 3, 2013
Salafist Nour party throws weight behind army
Despite ideological closeness with Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist Salafist Nour party says it is supporting the army’s action in order to avoid bloodshed, according to reports.
The army’s efforts to head off any violence before its announcement seems to have paid off, with few reports of the type of fighting that has characterized the last few nights of protests.
‘I am the only legitimate president’ Morsi says in recording
Al Jazeera reports that Morsi, left in the dark without official media outlets, is using whatever means possible to get his defiant message out. Loudspeakers in Nasser City, where a pro-Morsi rally is taking place, are broadcasting a message from Morsi calling on Egyptians to ignore the army’s coup.
“I am the only legitimate president,” Morsi is recorded saying, according to reports.
Morsi has also released a number of Twitter messages, and screeds on Facebook and Youtube.
Morsi’s replacement to be sworn in on Thursday
Adli Mansour, the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court, will be sworn in as the stand-in president on Thrusday. Mansour will fill-in for ousted leader Mohammed Morsi until new presidential elections are held.
AP reports that an aide to Morsi says that the seemingly former president has been move to a secure, but undisclosed, location.
‘A winning result for the US and Israel’
CBS correspondent Dan Raviv and Walla reporter Yossi Melman (or somebody on their website) write that Egypt’s upheaval, and Morsi’s removal, will likely end up being a positive change for Israel and the US. The US, they say, has always had closer contacts with Egypt’s military than its president, and Israel as well never quite warmed up to the Brotherhood leader.
“Israel’s main, agreeable contacts were with the traditional partners in Cairo – not with President Morsi. Egypt’s intelligence services maintained their quiet, but sometimes intense and useful liaisons with Israeli intelligence. And Israel never broke off its cooperative contacts with Egypt’s military, including the very same generals and brigadiers who are now running the Arab world’s most populous and influential nation.”
Adly Mansour’s curious credentials
A flurry of activity on Adly Mansour’s Wikipedia page has tried to keep up with the soon-to-be Egyptian leader’s sudden rise to power. In addition to details of his career in the Supreme Constitutional Court, the rapidly changing webpage has alternately listed him as Batman, Ironman, or simply “an absolute boss.”
Aside from his super powers, what little we do know is that he was appointed, by Morsi, to head Egypt’s highest court on July 1.
Adly Mansour the sixth president of Egypt: Born 23rd of Dec 1945. Married (1son Ahmed, 2 daugters Yasmine and Passant)
— Amr M Hussein (@AmrGunner1) July 3, 2013
MK Dov Khenin applauds toppling of Morsi
MK Dov Khenin (Hadash) congratulates the Egyptian people on ousting the Muslim Brotherhood from power.
“Egypt deserves more than a government that offers religious slogans instead of cultural change,” he wrote in a letter to the Egyptian people, Maariv reported. “When the people struggle, when the people rebel, in the end the people win. Because, quite simply, the people can’t be replaced.”
Head of US House Foreign Affairs c’tee accuses Morsi of power grab, praises departure
The Obama administration is treading a thin line between trying to not be seen supporting a military coup, but also wanting to keep itself on the right side of history.
However, the head of the House Foreign Affairs committee released a statement recently placing himself squarely in the anti-Morsi camp.
“It is unfortunate that Morsi did not heed popular demands for early elections after a year of his incompetent leadership and attempting a power grab for the Muslim Brotherhood,” California Republican Ed Royce said in a written statement, according to CNN.
“I am hopeful that his departure will reopen the path to a better future for Egypt, and I encourage the military and all political parties to cooperate in the peaceful establishment of democratic institutions and new elections that lead to an Egypt where minority rights are protected. But make no mistake about it, Egypt is in for very difficult days,” he added.
Fighting reported in Alexandria
Clashes are being reported in Alexandria, according to Reuters.
Gun shots are heard and rocks and bricks are being thrown according to initial reports.
A picture on Twitter posted by the Muslim Brotherhood shows huge masses of Morsi supporters gathering in the city.
— Ikhwanweb (@Ikhwanweb) July 2, 2013
A police officer tells Reuters that reinforcements are being called to the scene.
Opposition movements thank Egyptians, army
The army and opposition movements are characterizing the removal of Morsi not as a coup but as a continuation of the revolution, reflecting the will of the people.
The April 6 Movement, one of the main anti-Morsi blocs, releases a statement thanking the army for removing the president from power:
“Today the demands of the people have been met…the statement of the armed forces coincided with the demands of the people, and the proposal of the political forces and that of April 6, which it had put forward in July.”
The Tamarod, or rebel, movement, on the other hand, has a simpler message:
#tamarrod Thanks to the great EGYPTIAN NATION
— تمرد (@tamarrod) July 3, 2013
Earlier, Tamarod said it would continue rallying to make sure the people’s will was carried out, perhaps a signal that it supports, but doesn’t totally trust, the army.
US orders diplomats to leave Egypt
A US official says the State Department is ordering nonessential US diplomats and the families of all American Embassy personnel to leave Egypt after the Egyptian military removed Morsi and in anticipation of potential violence.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the official wasn’t authorized to discuss it publicly, says the State Department had placed the US Embassy in Cairo on “ordered departure” status for nonemergency staff and dependents all employees. That means that those covered by the order are required to leave the country. It was not immediately clear if an evacuation operation would be mounted or if those departing would use commercial airlines or passenger ships to leave.
Assad points to defeat of political Islam in Egypt
Syrian President Bashar Assad, who is fighting against a rebellion in his own country, says that the events in Egypt show the defeat of political Islam, Reuters reports.
“Whoever brings religion to use in politics or in favor of one group at the expense of another will fall anywhere in the world,” Assad reportedly told the Thawra newspaper that is published by the Syrian ruling Ba’ath party. Assad comes from the Alawite sect of Shi’ite Islam that is traditionally opposed to Sunni Islam that is embraced by the Muslim Brotherhood.
Last month Morsi announced that he was cutting all ties with Syria and intended to provide financial aide to the rebels fighting Assad.
Four killed in clashes in northern Egypt town
Four people have been killed in fighting in the city of Marsa Matrouh, Reuters reports, citing the governor.
The deaths occured during clashes between Morsi supporters and security forces.
The city is on the Meditteranean coast between Alexandria and the Libyan border.
Clashes are also being reported in other Egypt towns, such as Minya and Qena, the BBC reports.
Meanwhile, the Guardian says a pro-Morsi rally at the Raba’a el Adaweya Mosque in Cairo is slowly breaking up peacefully.
Over 100 injured in Nile delta town
Al Ahram reports that 118 people have been injured in fighting in Kafr el-Sheikh, where clashes erupted at 7 p.m.
The Nile delta town has been a frequent flashpoint between pro- and anti-Morsi boosters.
Senator says aid to Egypt must stop
US Senator Patrick Leahy, who heads the Congressional committee that holds foreign aid purse strings, slams Morsi in a statement but says the US must shut the faucet after the military’s takeover.
“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. As we work on the new budget, my committee also will review future aid to the Egyptian government as we wait for a clearer picture,” he said in a statement.
The US gives $1.3 billion to Egypt annually.
Washington had discussed cutting off the money last year as well, because of Morsi’s Islamist policies and anti-Israel statements.
Saudi king praises Egypt transition
Saudi Arabia’s king has congratulated Egypt on the ascension of Adly Mansour to power, al Arabiya reports, with the UAE and Jordan following suit.
Saudi King Abdullah called for wisdom to be used in protecting the rights of all of Egypt’s citizens.
In the UAE, Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan called the army Egypt’s “strong shield.”
Amman said it respected the will of the Egyptian people and its military.
Forces black out al-Jazeera in Egypt, journalists arrested
Al-Jazeera in Egypt has reportedly been taken off the air, following a number of Islamist channels, and marking a widening of the military’s imposed media blackout.
A journalist at the station says the office had been raided by security forces and five people have been arrested, according to Reuters.
Reports have emerged of journalists at other stations also being arrested and the stations shut down.
Egypt envoy to US: Not a coup
Foreign Policy has an interview with Mohamed Tawfik, Egypt’s ambassador to the US, who appears to have accepted his new bosses wholeheartedly.
Among other things, Tawkif says that the military takeover Wednesday was not a coup:
“It’s not a coup because the military did not take power. The military did not initiate it, it was a popular uprising. The military stepped in in order to avoid violence. At no point has the military come back to rule Egypt,” he says.
One killed in Alexandria
Citing Egyptian state media, Reuters says one person is killed and 50 people injured in Alexandria, bringing the night’s death toll to five.
Celebrations, rallies and fighting continue into night
As the night wears on, Egyptians are still massed at Tahrir Square and other spots around the country, rallying for or against Morsi, though there are signs the demonstrations are beginning to die down.
In Tahrir, fireworks are still going off, though less frequently than an hour ago, and fewer green laser pointers are tagging the sky and nearby buildings.
Sporadic violence is being reported in towns across Egypt, though Cairo has remained mostly calm.
This marks the end of our liveblog. Thanks for following along and be sure to check The Times of Israel for updates as the situation in Egypt develops.