CAIRO, Egypt (4th UPDATE) – Egypt’s army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ousted president Mohamed Morsi on Wednesday, July 3, and declared the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court caretaker leader.
Sisi, the defense minister in Morsi’s government, also announced a freezing of the Islamist-drafted constitution and early presidential elections.
He said a “strong and capable” government would be formed and would have “full capacities.”
The army chief said a panel would be formed to look into amendments to the constitution and a law would be drafted to regulate parliamentary elections.
After the announcement, delivered by Sisi in a televised address, Morsi denounced the move as “illegal” and urged Egyptians to “peacefully resist the coup as he himself will do”, a senior aide told AFP.
The United States and Britain expressed concern over Morsi’s ouster, but Saudi’s King Abdullah congratulated the move.
Opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei said the roadmap announced by Sisi “meets the the people’s demands for early presidential elections.”
The din rang out immediately, and continued for hours, as tens of thousands of people took to the streets of the capital to celebrate, cheering, whistling, letting off firecrackers and honking car horns in joyous scenes.
“It’s a new historical moment. We got rid of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood,” said one celebrator, Omar Sherif.
In the western city of Marsa Matruh, 4 Morsi supporters were killed in clashes with the army and police after they stormed the city’s security headquarters.
Another Morsi supporter died in clashes in the Mediterranean coastal city of Alexandria, security officials said.
Security forces also arrested two key Muslim Brotherhood figures, the group’s deputy leader Rashad Bayoumi and Saad al-Katatni, who heads the Brotherhood’s political arm.
The army’s dramatic move comes after millions of Egyptians took to the streets to call for his ouster, accusing him of betraying the 2011 revolution that brought him to power.
First freely elected president
It has been a dramatic week for Egypt, which only two years ago saw an uprising that ended 3 decades of authoritarian rule under Hosni Mubarak.
Morsi, previously a senior Brotherhood leader, is Egypt’s first freely elected president,
Egypt’s ministers of tourism, environment, communication, and legal affairs tendered their resignationson Monday, July 1, a day after massive protests against Morsi swept the country.
The resignations came after millions flooded the streets on Sunday, June 30, determined to oust Morsi on the anniversary of his turbulent first year in power, in the biggest protests Egypt has seen since the 2011 revolt.
His opponents accused him of betraying the revolution by concentrating power in Islamist hands and of sending the economy into free fall.
Morsi supporters say he inherited many problems from a corrupt regime, and that he should be allowed to complete his term which ends in 2016. – Rappler.com