- supporters of Mohamed Morsi expected to pour on to the streets after Friday prayers today
- Mohammed Badie detained in Mediterranean coastal city near Libyan border over killings outside Cairo HQ
- Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi being held at Presidential Guard facility just a year after coming to power
- Judge in Egypt’s supreme court, Adly Mansour, sworn in as interim president in Cairo just hours after coup
- Arrest warrants have been issued for 300 members of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood party as round-up begins
- Military suspends Islamist-drafted constitution, calls for new elections and said it would install civilian government
- Fears grow as Islamists take to Twitter to organise series of rallies to coincide with Friday prayers
- At least 14 people have been killed in violent clashes after declaration by head of Egyptian army in TV broadcast
- President Obama urges military to hand back control to democratic government, but stops short of calling it a coup
- British foreign secretary says uprising sets a ‘dangerous precedent’ and UK did not support military intervention
- Rapid reaction team of diplomats dispatched to Cairo to prepare for possible evacuation of British nationals
Egypt’s generals face their first big test today when supporters of ousted Mohamed Morsi pour on to the streets after Friday prayers to protest against the army-led coup.
Social networking sites and mosques are being used to rally support for the democratically elected president who has been put under house arrest.
An Islamist coalition led by the Muslim Brotherhood appealed to Egyptians to demonstrate in a ‘Friday of Rejection’ against the coup.
Arrest warrants for more than 300 members of the Brotherhood and their close allies were issued by the military yesterday while tanks and armoured vehicles were in place at strategic points across Cairo and other major cities.
Mohammed Badie, the supreme leader of the movement, was arrested near the Libyan border. Judicial sources said Badie, and his deputy Khairat el-Shater, who were seen as the drivers of the Islamist agenda followed by Mr Morsi, have been charged with inciting violence against protesters outside the Brotherhood’s ransacked HQ in Cairo.
Standing by their man: Supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi protest in Cairo
Skyline: A helicopter fly-past over protesters against ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, in Tahrir Square
And in the early hours of this morning, state television has reported that Islamist gunmen opened fire on El Arish airport in Egypt’s troubled Sinai Peninsula and at three military checkpoints.
The attackers reportedly fired rocket-propelled grenades at the army checkpoints outside the airport, close to the border with the Gaza Strip and Israel, in the latest of a string of security incidents in the lawless region, security sources said.
Although it was not clear whether the coordinated attack on several army positions was in response to the military overthrow of President Morsi.
Celebrations marking Mr Morsi’s overthrow continued yesterday although numbers were reduced from the millions who greeted news of the coup on Wednesday night.
Jubilant protesters chanted ‘No More Beards’ yesterday – a reference to the facial hair favoured by Islamists and the Brotherhood.
There are fears of a violent backlash from Islamists, particularly from hard-liners, some of whom once belonged to armed groups.
Clashes between Islamists and police erupted after the army’s announcement of Mr Morsi’s removal from power. At least nine died.
Egypt’s interim leader, Adli Mansour, used his inauguration to hold out an olive branch to the Brotherhood and promised elections – without indicating when they would be.
‘The Muslim Brotherhood are part of this people and are invited to participate in building the nation as nobody will be excluded, and if they respond to the invitation, they will be welcomed,’ said the senior judge. Promising to safeguard ‘the spirit of the revolution’ that removed Hosni Mubarak from power in 2011, he said he would ‘put an end to the idea of worshipping the leader’.
Elections would be held based on ‘the genuine people’s will, not a fraudulent one,’ he added. ‘This is the only way for a brighter future, a freer future, a more democratic one.’
UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon appealed for calm and restraint, as well as the preservation of rights such as freedom of expression and assembly.
‘Many Egyptians in their protests have voiced deep frustrations and legitimate concerns,’ he said in a statement that did not condemn the move against Mr Morsi.
‘At the same time, military interference in the affairs of any state is of concern,’ he said. ‘Therefore, it will be crucial to quickly reinforce civilian rule in accordance with principles of democracy.’ Mr Morsi’s dramatic removal by the military after a year in office marked another twist in the turmoil that has gripped the Arab world’s most populous country in the two years since the fall of Mubarak.
The Brotherhood has been quick to reject participation in the new regime and a senior politician, Essam El-Erian, said the movement would take a long view of the political setback.
Writing on Facebook, he said ‘waves of sympathy’ for the Brotherhood would rise gradually over time. ‘The end of the coup will come faster than you imagine,’ he added. ‘We refuse to participate in any activities with the usurping authorities.’ Mohamed El-Beltagy, a senior Brotherhood politician, said the movement was unlikely to take up arms but warned that other, unnamed, groups could be pushed to violent resistance.
Standing guard: Members of the Egyptian military at a roadblock in the Cairo district of Giza the morning after President Mohamed Morsi was ousted from power
Detained: Supreme leader of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, Mohammed Badie (left) has been arrested over the killing of eight protesters during the uprising which toppled President Morsi (right), security officials revealed today
New era: A family walks to Tahrir Square the morning as President Morsi is placed under house arrest after being removed from office by the military
The Brotherhood’s television station, Misr 25, has been taken off the air along with several networks run by Islamists.
Mr Morsi’s critics have long accused the stations of sowing divisions among Egyptians and inciting hatred of secularists, liberals, Christians and Shiite Muslims.
ELECTION TO REJECTION: WHY MORSI WAS THROWN OUT AFTER JUST A YEAR… AND WHAT HAPPENS NOW
Why was President Morsi ousted?
When Mohamed Morsi became Egypt’s first freely elected president in June 2012 after the removal of dictator Hosni Mubarak, he promised to lead a government ‘for all Egyptians’.
But critics argue he has failed to deliver during a turbulent year in office which has seen increasing polarisation in the country.
Opponents blame him for allowing Islamists to dominate the political scene by concentrating too much power in the hands of his Muslim Brotherhood movement.
He is also accused of mishandling the economy and going back on his pledge to protect rights and social justice.
His opponents say the mass turnout on the streets over the past few days showed the nation had now truly turned against him.
How did it end?
The protests prompted the military to impose an ultimatum on July 1 ordering him to satisfy the public’s demands for fresh elections or it would impose its own ‘roadmap’ within 48 hours to end the crisis.
But president Morsi showed no signs of backing down, so last night, the military carried out its threat.
He is now being held under house arrest along with 12 of his aides, while warrants are out for 300 of his Brotherhood men.
What happens next?
The Egyptian military is not hanging around in implementing its ‘roadmap’ for the country.
What was unveiled by General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, in full uniform, flanked by politicians, officers and clergy, was a plan to wipe clear a slate of messy democratic reforms enacted since Mubarak fell.
The constitution was suspended and within hours of President Morsi’s downfall, the senior judge in Egypt’s supreme constitutional court, Adly Mansour, pictured, was sworn in as interim president earlier today.
A technocratic interim government will be formed, along with a panel for national reconciliation and the constitution will be reviewed.
As yet there is no timetable for new elections.
Liberal chief negotiator Mohamed ElBaradei, a former U.N. nuclear agency chief, said the plan would ‘continue the revolution’ of 2011.
Many hope they can have more electoral success than last year, when the Brotherhood’s organisation dominated the vote.
What isn’t certain, however, is whether the party will take part or whether they will even want to.
Morsi won 5.7million votes in the first round of his elections and 13.2million in the second, while the Brotherhood secured more than 10million in the parliamentary elections.
So they may argue why they should bother being involved in the process if they cannot win by democratic means.
In any case, its own ability to fight back democratically may be limited by the arrests of its leaders.
They face accusations of inciting violence, while Morsi may also face charges after his opponents accused him this week of fomenting ‘civil war’ by defying Sisi’s ultimatum.
Social media continued to function normally, however, with both the former president’s aides and the opposition using Twitter and Facebook to provide updates. ‘Egypt remains online. So far no repeat of 2011,’ said internet monitoring company Renesys, referring to Mubarak’s censorship two years ago.
The Brotherhood announced it would boycott the new military-sponsored political process and called on its supporter to restrain themselves and not use violence.
‘We declare our uncompromising rejection of the military coup staged against the elected president and the will of the nation and refuse to participate in any activist with the usurping authorities,’ said the statement, which the group’s mufti Abdel-Rahman el-Barr read to the Morsi’s supporters staging a days-long sit-in in Cairo.
The arrest came as the chief justice of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court was sworn in as the nation’s interim president, taking over hours after the military ousted the Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.
Meanwhile, the World Bank hopes to continue its programmes in Egypt following the military ousting of the country’s first democratically elected leader, bank president Jim Yong Kim told reporters during a visit to Chile.
The bank, which Kim said has a $4.7 billion loan programme for Egypt, is still trying to understand the situation in the country, he added.
‘Our hope is that we’ll be able to continue with our programs to provide essential services and essential support,” said Kim, flanked by Chile’s president and finance minister.
We really urge everyone to stay calm and to have a dialogue, and to move as quickly as possible to having real elections,’ he added.
Celebrations took place across Egypt on Wednesday night after the head of Egypt’s armed forces issued a declaration suspending the constitution and appointing the head of the constitutional court as interim head of state.
Gehad el-Haddad, a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood party, said Morsi was under house arrest at a Presidential Guard facility where he had been residing, while 12 of his aides were also being held.
Earlier, the chief justice Adli Mansour took the oath of office at the Nile-side Constitutional Court in a ceremony broadcast live on state television.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr said he assured U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in a telephone call on Thursday that the overthrow of President Mohamed Mursi had not been a military coup.
The definition of what happened in Egypt yesterday is important because the military overthrow of an elected leader would generally trigger economic sanctions and could entail cutting of vital U.S. aid to Egypt.
‘The American side is a strategic partner for Egypt and the welfare of Egypt is important to them,’ said Amr, a career diplomat who tendered his resignation to Mursi on Tuesday but who remains in charge of Egypt’s foreign ministry – at least until a new interim technocratic government is named.
‘I hope that they read the situation in the right way, that this is not a military coup in any way. This was actually the overwhelming will of the people.’
Mr Morsi was Egypt’s first democratically elected president but was overthrown by the military yesterday after just one year in office.
The military, in a statement read by army chief General Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi on Wednesday night, also suspended the Islamist-drafted constitution and called for new elections. Mr Morsi has denounced the action as a ‘full coup’ by the generals.
Millions of anti-Morsi protesters around the country erupted in celebrations after the televised announcement by the army chief.
Fireworks burst over crowds in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, where men and women danced, shouting, ‘God is great’ and ‘Long live Egypt.’
But clashes erupted in several provincial cities when Islamists opened fire on police, with at least 14 people killed, security officials said.
No time to waste: Adly Mansour (centre), the chief justice of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court, speaks at his swearing in ceremony as he is made interim president just hours after the coup
Cracking down: The military has suspended the Islamist-drafted constitution, called for new elections and announced it would install a temporary civilian government
Fervour: Opponents of ousted President Morsi gather outside the Supreme Constitutional Court where Adly Mansour, the chief of Egypt’s highest court, was sworn in as interim president
Fears were also growing of further unrest as Islamists took to Twitter to organise a series of rallies to coincide with Friday prayers.
The fact that Egypt’s interim president comes from the Constitutional Court adds a symbolic sting to Mr Morsi’s removal.
The Islamist leader and his Muslim Brotherhood backers had repeatedly clashed with the judiciary while in power, accusing the judges of being loyalists of former autocrat Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted in a 2011 uprising, and saying they seek to undermine Egypt’s shift to democratic rule.
The judges, meanwhile, had repeatedly challenged the Brotherhood’s policies and what many in Egypt considered the group’s march to power. The Constitutional Court dissolved the Islamist-dominated parliament in June last year, saying it was illegally elected.
Ecstatic: Opponents of Mohamed Morsi celebrate near the presidential palace after he was ousted from power by Egypt’s military
Elated: Egyptian cheer and wave after the announcement by the head of the armed forces, General Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi of the coup
Even with an interim leader now in place, Egypt remains on an uncertain course following Mr Morsi’s ousting, and the possibility of further confrontation still looms.
Beyond the fears over violence, some protesters are concerned whether an army-installed administration can lead to real democracy.
British foreign secretary William Hague said he had sent a rapid deployment team of diplomats to reinforce the embassy in Cairo who would be able to give additional support to British nationals and prepare for any possible evacuation if the situation deteriorated.
Mr Hague said the military coup in Egypt sets a ‘dangerous precedent’ for the country’s future.
Taking to the streets: Opponents of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi celebrate near the Presidential palace
Up in arms: Thousands of Pro-Morsi protesters take part in a protest in Raba’a Al-Adaweya square. Morsi said he is still the legitimate president of Egypt in a statement broadcast by pan-Arab Al Jazeera news channel
Still has their backing: Thousands of Pro-Morsi protesters take part in a demonstration in Raba’a Al-Adaweya square in Cairo, Egypt
Containment strategy: Egyptian soldiers build a roadblock in Nasr City where supporters of President Morsi supporters were protesting
At the ready: Fearing a violent reaction by Morsi’s Islamist supporters, troops and armoured vehicles deployed in the streets of Cairo and elsewhere
Fireworks light the sky as opponents of President Mohammed Morsi celebrate in Tahrir Square
Celebrations broke out after the head of Egypt’s armed forces issued a declaration suspending the constitution
Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme, he said the British government did not support the deposing of President Morsi. ‘We don’t support military intervention as a way of resolving disputes,’ he said.
‘There’s a dangerous precedent to do that. If one president can be deposed, then so can another in the future. But it’s happened, so we have to recognise the situation will move on.
OBAMA TREADS CAREFULLY ON EGYPT AS HE FACES PROTESTS HIMSELF
President Barack Obama has found himself in an delicate position over his response to the crisis in Egypt.
In a carefully worded statement yesterday, he said he was ‘deeply concerned’ by the military’s move to topple the government and suspend Egypt’s constitution.
He also urged Egypt’s military to hand back control to a democratic, civilian government without delay.
But he stopped short of calling the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi a coup.
The classification is an important one as his administration will be forced to decide whether it must suspend the $1.5 billion a year it provides to Egypt in military and economic assistance that is considered a critical U.S. national security priority.
Under U.S. law, the government must stop foreign aid to any nation whose elected leader is ousted in a coup d’etat, opening the door to the possibility of yet more unrest.
According to the IPS news agency, U.S. officials are also very concerned about the possibility of a violent protest against the coup by Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, which remains Egypt’s most organised institution after the military.
Obama has also faced a wave of protests himself, with placards claiming the U.S. president ‘allied himself with terrorists’ and ‘Obama supports terrorism’ being displayed in Cairo over the last few days.
Many Egyptians are unhappy at U.S. foreign policy in their country and the fact Washington supported former dictator Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted in January 2011 in a similar uprising.
The Obama administration may also now have to fend off further accusations from Republicans at home who argue that the president’s handling of the Arab Spring has been a failure.
‘We have to work with whoever is in authority in Egypt for the safety of British citizens – there are so many British companies over there.’
‘We make our views clear. This is a military intervention but it’s a popular intervention there’s no doubt about that. We have to recognise there was enormous dissatisfaction with the government. Stability in the long term comes from democracy.’
It comes as President Barack Obama urged Egypt’s military to hand back control to a democratic, civilian government without delay, but stopped short of calling the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi a coup.
Obama said he was ‘deeply concerned’ by the military’s move to topple Morsi’s government and suspend Egypt’s constitution.
He said he was ordering the U.S. government to assess what the military’s actions meant for U.S. foreign aid to Egypt.
Under U.S. law, the government must suspend foreign aid to any nation whose elected leader is ousted in a coup d’etat.
The U.S. provides $1.5 billion a year to Egypt in military and economic assistance that is considered a critical U.S. national security priority.
‘I now call on the Egyptian military to move quickly and responsibly to return full authority back to a democratically elected civilian government as soon as possible through an inclusive and transparent process, and to avoid any arbitrary arrests of President Morsi and his supporters,’ Obama said.
Two U.S. officials have said Egyptian defence leaders, who ousted the president, have assured the U.S. that they are not interested in a long-term rule.
The official says the leaders, in calls with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, pledged to put a civilian government in place quickly.
U.S. officials also say the Egyptian military has said it will take steps to ensure the safety of Americans in Egypt, including the diplomatic mission.
‘During this uncertain period, we expect the military to ensure that the rights of all Egyptian men and women are protected, including the right to peaceful assembly, due process, and free and fair trials in civilian courts,’ he said.
Four people have been killed in clashes between Morsi supporters and security forces in the northern city of Marsa Matrouh after the president was ousted by the army, Governor Badr Tantawi has said.
Meanwhile, a statement on the Egyptian president’s office’s Twitter account has quoted Mohammed Morsi as calling military measures ‘a full coup’.
And it has been reported Egypt’s descent into even deeper political turmoil will almost certainly put a multi-billion dollar international bailout on hold and lead to an even more painful economic crisis with worsening fuel shortages and higher prices on basic goods.
TWO YEARS OF TURMOIL AND TRANSITION: A TIMELINE OF EVENTS FROM MORSI’S ELECTION TO REJECTION
Key events from when the Arab Spring began to the current protests:
Jan. 25-Feb. 11, 2011 – Egyptians stage nationwide demonstrations against the rule of autocrat Hosni Mubarak, who led the country for nearly three decades.
The 18-day ‘revolution,’ launched by secular and leftist youth, draws in a wide spectrum, including the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists. Hundreds of protesters are killed as Mubarak and his allies try to crush the uprising.
Feb. 11 – Mubarak steps down and turns power over to the military. Two days later, the body of top generals, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, dissolves parliament and suspends the constitution, meeting two key demands of protesters.
June 16-17 – Egyptians vote in the presidential runoff between Morsi and Shafiq. The generals issue a ‘constitutional declaration’ giving themselves sweeping authorities and limiting the powers of the next president. Morsi emerges as the victor, with 51.7 percent of the vote.
June 30 – Morsi takes his formal oath of office before the Supreme Constitutional Court, a day after reading a symbolic oath in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, birthplace of the revolution.
Aug. 12 – In a bold move, Morsi orders the retirement of the top Mubarak-era leadership of the military and cancels the military’s last constitutional decree, taking back the powers that the generals gave themselves. The move was seen as way to curb the military’s role in political affairs but it also gave Morsi the power to legislate in the absence of parliament.
Nov. 22 – Morsi unilaterally decrees greater authorities for himself, giving his decisions immunity from judicial review and barring the courts from dissolving the constituent assembly and the upper house of parliament. The move came just ahead of court decisions that could have dissolved the bodies. The move sparks days of protests, with clashes between Morsi’s supporters and opponents. At one point, some 200,000 people rally in Tahrir Square, with some of the first chants for Morsi to ‘leave.’
Dec. 4 – More than 100,000 protesters march on the presidential palace, demanding the cancellation of the referendum and the writing of a new constitution. The next day, Islamists attack a peaceful anti-Morsi sit-in outside the palace, sparking all-out street battles that leave at least 10 dead. Days later, Morsi rescinds his initial decrees, but maintains the date of the referendum.
Jan. 25, 2013 – Hundreds of thousands hold protests in Tahrir Square and nationwide against Morsi on the 2-year anniversary of the start of the revolt against Mubarak, and clashes erupt in many places.
Jan. 26 – Residents of the city of Port Said stage protests, angered by a court ruling convicting and sentencing to death a group of local soccer fans for a 2012 stadium riot. Police crack down hard in Port Said, killing more than 40 protesters, and in outrage the city and others nearby go into near revolt. Much of the anger is focused at Morsi, who praised the police for their crackdown.
Feb.-March – Protests continue in Port Said and other cities for weeks, with dozens more dying in clashes, and some police units around the country go on strike. Brotherhood youth and their opponents fight in the streets outside the group’s main Cairo headquarters.
June 23 – A mob beats to death four Egyptian Shiites in their home in a village on the edge of Cairo. Morsi condemns the attack, but critics blame virulent anti-Shiite rhetoric by his hard-line Islamist allies, fueled by Syria’s civil war. A week earlier, Morsi shared a stage with hard-line clerics at a rally, sitting silently as they denounced Shiites as ‘filthy.’
June 30 — Millions of Egyptians take to the streets in Cairo and other cities calling for Morsi to step down in a massive display of anger and frustration with the Islamist leader. The demonstrations are largely peaceful, although 16 people, half of them in clashes outside the Muslim Brotherhood’s Cairo headquarters, are killed in protest-related violence nationwide. Organisers vow to keep up the protests until Morsi resigns.
July 1 – Demonstrations continue and Egypt’s military issues an ultimatum for the two sides to come to a resolution within 48 hours or it will impose its own solution.#
July 2 – A night of clashes outside Cairo University sees at least 16 people killed, with unofficial sources saying that more than 23 people died.
July 3 – Egyptian media reports that President Morsi will either be sacked or forced to stand down as the army’s deadline for a resolution approaches.
July 3, 6pm – The head of the Egyptian army, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi declares on national TV that Morsi has been ousted from power, prompting a wave of celebrations across the country.
July 4 – Judge in Egypt’s supreme court, Adly Mansour, sworn in as interim president in Cairo.