Jul 03, 2013
UPDATE: (3:17 PM EST)
Events in Egypt took a dramatic turn on Wednesday evening after General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, took to state television and announced that the military council was suspending the constitution, replacing an embattled Mohammed Morsi with an interim presidential appointment, and calling for new parliamentary elections.
Cheers and fireworks went up in Tahrir Square as news of the announcement spread among Morsi opponents and advocates for a deepening of the revolutionary ideals that previously swept Morsi's predecessor Hosni Mubarak from power in 2011.
Mahmoud Badr, a leader and spokesperson for the Tamaroud movement which led much of the opposition against Morsi's rule spoke after Al-Sissi and called "for all political parties to come and start a dialogue."
"We don't want to exclude anyone," Badr is reported as saying.
Opposition leader Mohamed El Baradei, responded to the new 'roadmap' with cautious support, saying the transition should move toward new elections quickly. He called for "social justice for every single Egyptian" and said the Egyptian street "has paid a high price" for a hopeful political future.
Meanwhile, reports of silence, anger, and confusion were coming from rallies where pro-Morsi supporters had gathered.
The Guardian offered this plain-language summary of the plan:
* President Mohamed Morsi and his government no longer lead Egypt
* The constitution has been suspended and new presidential elections will be held
* The head of constitutional court, Adly Mahmoud, 68, will "temporarily" take over the presidential palace
Termed as a "roadmap" for Egypt's political future, Al-Sisi's statement released a flurry of commentary and speculation.
Morsi's option remained unclear, but the Ahram Onlinereports that the ousted president "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."
Following the SCAF announcment, journalist Sharif Abdel Kouddous tweeted:
\u201cAfter two and a half years, Egypt just went back to square one in its post-Mubarak transition\u201d— Sharif Kouddous \u0634\u0631\u064a\u0641 \u0639\u0628\u062f \u0627\u0644\u0642\u062f\u0648\u0633 (@Sharif Kouddous \u0634\u0631\u064a\u0641 \u0639\u0628\u062f \u0627\u0644\u0642\u062f\u0648\u0633) 1372879374
And Twitter was blistering with activity:
And Al-Jazeera continued its live coverage:
The enormous crowd in Cairo's Tahrir Square was deafening on Wednesday, as millions of Egyptians opposed to the rule of President Mohammed Morsi continued their defiant stand against the ruling government as they awaited the military council's response to latest statements regarding the political impasse that has engulfed the nation.
The tensions in Egypt come from a complex triade of forces with Morsi supporters, consolidated within the Muslim Brotherhood from which he hails, standing off against the secular, more liberal supporters of the Tamarod--or rebel--coalition and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) which has threatened to intercede in order to restore order.
The palpable anxiety of those in Tahrir was expressed well by this tweet by independent journalist Sharif Abdel Kouddous from Cairo:
\u201cWhatever the military decides, the situation is such that one side will explode in anger. Violence is imminent. #Egypt\u201d— Sharif Kouddous \u0634\u0631\u064a\u0641 \u0639\u0628\u062f \u0627\u0644\u0642\u062f\u0648\u0633 (@Sharif Kouddous \u0634\u0631\u064a\u0641 \u0639\u0628\u062f \u0627\u0644\u0642\u062f\u0648\u0633) 1372868306
Morsi has been defiant against calls for him to step aside by the populist movement opposed to his rule and on Tuesday said he would lay down his life in order to protect the legitimacy of his government.
"My life is the price for protecting the legitimacy [of the constitution]," Morsi said in a televised speech late on Tuesday. His backers are calling the military's assertion of power the precursor to a coup de'ta.
Meanwhile, Egypt's military council, which set an afternoon deadline for Morsi to properly address the crisis, said it was meeting with various members of the opposition to help determine its next move.
Numerous reports indicate the military has overtaken state television stations, though what they plan to do next remained a mystery as the nation awaited official word from SCAF leader, General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi.
This Common Dreams generated Twitter feed is tracking the latest developments from informed experts and sources on the ground in Egypt:
Live shots from Tahrir Square via ONtv Live:
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