Egypt In Transition
03 July, 2013
Politically charged-Egypt begins transition as the Islamist president Morsi loses grip on power after, for the third day, millions of anti-Morsi demonstrators hit the streets across the country to demand the removal of Morsi from power. Violence took more than 21 lives. Morsi and top Muslim Brotherhood leadership face travel ban. The army occupied the state TV building ahead of the 48-hour deadline (14:30 GMT).
Media reports from Egypt said:
The military commanders met political and youth leaders to find the way out in the political crisis as the Morsi presidency were reaching to its end. The Muslim Brotherhood leadership declined to attend the meeting.
The army is careful of not allowing the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood to incite a civil war.
“We are sure that [Morsi's supporters] will get the message and we know that the leadership [of the Muslim Brotherhood] is not in close contact with the base on the street,” said a security source.
Earlier, in a televised speech (broadcast with the consent of the armed forces) on Tuesday night, Morsi declined to bow to public demand for early presidential elections. The speech was recorded following an earlier deal that he would acknowledge the public's demand for early elections and hand-down his prerogatives to a new prime minister.
Morsi then decided that he would not go along with the agreement, despite an offer of safe exit for him and for the Muslim Brotherhood leadership, a decision which could face serious legal charges.
According to one source, the president “was getting very close to agreeing, but he declined following consultations with the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Morsi, with the help of two Muslim Brotherhood aides, underwent an extended negotiation process with representatives from the armed force's general command over his reaction to demands for early presidential elections.
“At any event he is under house arrest and in the next few hours many of the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood could be under house arrest as well if a deal is not struck and if the incitement for violence continues,” said the security source.
Military sources earlier told the BBC the president's position was becoming "weaker" with every passing minute.
Foreign diplomats told key Western capitals have called on Morsi to bow to the people's will and on the army to refrain from assuming a role in the state's management. One said “serious assurances were offered that the army is not to rule. Whatever happens we cannot condone a coup d'etat even though we know that the top priority of an elected president is to bow to the demands of his people.”
The major point that the West emphasized to Cairo 's effective rulers is that today's events should not look like a military coup. Muslim Brotherhood leaders, including Morsi and his two foreign affairs aides Essam El-Haddad and Pakinam El-Sharkway, were tweeting messages to suggest that the president is being subjected to a coup.
Opposition leaders called on the West to "stop defending" Morsi, who is faced with "unprecedented contempt."
US support questioned
One opposition leader relayed to Washington that the US is currently “disliked in an unprecedented way in Egypt 's liberal quarters, which see US support for Morsi as only an attempt to keep a president who does not have the support of his people but who is serving the US 's interests.”
In the words of a highly informed source “the unease that US embassy is showing on the matter comes essentially from the failure of the US ambassador [Anne Patterson, a former US ambassador to Pakistan ] to impose the Pakistan scenario of Islamist-Military marriage; it did not work and ultimately the Americans cannot afford to lose Egypt .”
According to informed diplomatic sources, several Arab Gulf countries, especially Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates , are pressuring Washington to bow to the opposition and are promising generous economic aid. Qatar , under the rule of a recently-introduced emir, is not taking exception to a regime change even if it will not be as generous with its economic support.
All these factors are being taken into consideration by the army leadership and by opposition figures busy with a roadmap for " Egypt after Morsi."
Morsi promised his life
Earlier, Morsi rejected the ultimatum issued by the armed forces to "meet the demands of the people" or face military intervention. He said he is Egypt 's legitimate leader and will not be forced to resign.
In a defiant televised speech on Tuesday evening, Morsi said he would give his life to defend constitutional legitimacy, and blamed the unrest on corruption and remnants of the ousted regime of Mubarak.
Morsi said: "We sacrifice for our country and I am the first to sacrifice. If the cost of legitimacy is my life, I will pay it gladly." He renewed his longstanding invitation to all political forces to participate in national dialogue.
In response to Morsi's speech, the masses in Tahrir Square and at the Qobba and Ittihadeya presidential palaces chanted loudly, “Leave, leave”.
'Terrorists and fools'
In a statement on July 2, the army swore to "sacrifice even our blood for Egypt and its people, to defend them against any terrorist, extremists or fool".
On July 3, the army chief Gen Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met his top commanders as the 48-hour deadline approached.
They discussed details of a post-Morsi roadmap.
Then, in the meeting with the army commanders, members of the Tamarod (Rebel) movement, which has mobilized millions of demonstrators onto the streets to demand Morsi's resignation, took part. Other leading political and religious figures and opposition leader Mohammed ElBaradei also participated in the meeting.
But the ruling Freedom and Justice party - the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood - stayed away from the talks. A spokesman for Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood said the army had no right to offer such a plan.
A celebratory atmosphere prevailed most of the day in Tahrir Square and at the Qubba and Ittihadeya presidential palaces.
President Morsi and his supporters tried to hold on tight to his "democratic legitimacy".
Clashes and gun fires
With pro-Morsi marches in different cities since Monday, more clashes erupted between the two camps. Cairo , Alexandria , Qalioubiya, Giza , Daqahliya, Damietta , Fayoum, El-Agamy, Kafr Al-Dawar, Damanhour and other places witnessed violence.
Clashes near Cairo University in the early hours of July 3 took at least 16 lives. The number of wounded was at least 200. Another five were killed during the melee in Giza and over 100 injured.
Gunfights occurred in Cairo 's Kit Kat Square , with mayhem extending to Nile Street in the nearby Agouza district.
The Socialist Popular Alliance reported on Twitter that a SPA member was shot in the arm during a Brotherhood attack on an opposition in Helwan, south of Cairo .
The headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) in the city of Banha was burnt after it was stormed by anti-Morsi protestors.
Anti-Morsi demonstration at Qobba Palace on July 2 (Photo: Mai Shaheen)
Many anti-Morsi marches headed to Tahrir Square .
In Cairo , massive anti-Morsi crowds gathered in Tahrir Square , at Ittihadiya and Qobba presidential palaces. Near the Qobba presidential palace, hundreds of thousands gathered. Fireworks lighted up the sky.
There were also anti-Morsi rallies in Alexandria and the governorates of Gharbiya, Sharqiya, Daqahliya, in the cities of Suez , Port Said and other cities and town around the country.
In the governorate of Assiut, hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood opponents have started to gather in a demonstration in front of the governorate headquarters.
Thousands of anti-Morsi demonstrators are gathered in El-Horreya Square in the city of Damietta .
Pro-Muslim Brotherhood sit-in
Islamist supporters of Morsi carried on their massive sit-in in Cairo 's Nasr City district. Additional thousands also gathered at Cairo University in support of Morsi.
The ultra-conservative Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya had earlier staged a pro-Morsi march.
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