Egyptian military issues ultimatum to Morsi

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Monday, July 1, 2013

Today the Egyptian military issued an ultimatum to Mohammed Morsi that gives him 48 hours, until Wednesday, to meet the demands of the hundreds of thousands of people protesting his presidency, by announcing a snap election, resigning, and allowing a provisional government to take over, or they will force a political transition.

Cquote1.svg For an institution of state to come and stage a coup against the president, this will not happen. Any force that goes against the constitution is a call for sabotage and anarchy. Cquote2.svg

—Yasser Hamza, member of the Freedom and Justice Party

The military said the protests were an "unprecedented" demonstration of the people's will.

The ultimatum was issued by an unnamed official on Egyptian state television hours after the Muslim Brotherhood's headquarters in Cairo was taken over. Accompanied by an image of the Egyptian Defense Minister General Abdul Fatah Khalil Al-Sisi, the ultimatum read, "If the demands of the people are not met by the expiry of this deadline, the Armed Forces will announce a road-map for the future, and procedures that the Armed Forces will oversee with the participation of all political and national streams, including the youths, who were and still are the real force that ignited their glorious revolution, and without the exclusion of any party", after which the television channel played patriotic music.

The military also said it would "not be a party in politics or rule," and would enforce what the people wanted.

Mohammed Morsi at a press conference in June 2012.
Image: Jonathan Rashad.

The Muslim Brotherhood has denounced the ultimatum. Yasser Hamza, a member of the Freedom and Justice Party, the political party of the Muslim Brotherhood, said, "For an institution of state to come and stage a coup against the president, this will not happen. Any force that goes against the constitution is a call for sabotage and anarchy."

The ultimatum was due to the hundreds of thousands of people that protested in Egyptian cities including Alexandria, {Cairo, Port Said, and Suez yesterday, the first anniversary of Morsi's inauguration, and today, demanding Morsi resign. Some estimate the turnout was tens of thousands, some hundreds of thousands, and a military source estimated the number at almost fourteen million. In Cairo, the protesters were massed at Tahrir Square and outside the presidential palace. At least sixteen people died and 780 were injured in the protests, according to Egyptian Health Ministry spokesman Yehya Moussa.

Stones and petrol bombs were thrown at the headquarters of the Muslim Brotherhood, which had been fortified with sandbags. Morsi was a leading member of the Brotherhood. The protesters say the Brotherhood fired on the protesters, killing five. Today the headquarters was overrun and looted.

Late Sunday, the National Salvation Front released a statement telling protesters to "maintain their peaceful [rallies] in all the squares and streets and villages and hamlets of the country... until the last of this dictatorial regime falls" and stated that this has "confirmed the downfall of the regime of Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood". The National Salvation Front, a secular, liberal organization, has endorsed a petition calling for a snap election, started by the grassroots movement Rebel.

Cquote1.svg maintain their peaceful [rallies] in all the squares and streets and villages and hamlets of the country... until the last of this dictatorial regime falls Cquote2.svg

National Salvation Front in "Revolution Statement 1"

Protesters argue Morsi since taking power has failed to address political deadlock, economic crises, and personal safety problems. Many are angry at the Muslim Brotherhood, which they claim hijacked the Egyptian revolution, seizing authoritarian control and imposing Islamic law.

The BBC reported some protesters showed anti-American and anti-Israeli sentiment, noting one flag with a picture of Morsi in a Star of David.

A presidential spokesman, Ihab Fahmi, said people must "unite and listen to the sound of wisdom [...] Political diversity necessitates on all parties to abide by the democratic process". Another spokesman, Omar Amer, said "[Morsi] announced to all of Egypt’s people he made mistakes and that he is in the process of fixing these mistakes [...] I want to confirm one truth, if there is a total lack of response to this initiative, no listening to it, no interest in it from any side, what do you think the presidency can do?". Morsi has said he was validly elected, and denied instigating religious authority clauses in the new Egyptian constitution.

Sources

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