Location – Cairo, Egypt – Date : July 3 – Time : 7 p.m. (1700 GMT)
Egypt’s people and armed forces overthrew Mohamed Morsi on Wednesday and announced a political transition with the support of a wide range of political, religious and youth leaders.
After a day of drama in which tanks and troops deployed near the presidential palace as a military deadline for Morsi to yield to mass protests passed, the top army commander General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced on television that the president had “failed to meet the demands of the Egyptian people”.
Flanked by political and religious leaders and top generals, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced the suspension of the Islamist-tinged constitution and a roadmap for a return to democratic rule under a revised rulebook.
The president of the supreme constitutional court will act as interim head of state, assisted by an interim council and a technocratic government until new presidential and parliamentary elections are held.
“Those in the meeting have agreed on a roadmap for the future that includes initial steps to achieve the building of a strong Egyptian society that is cohesive and does not exclude anyone and ends the state of tension and division,” Sisi said in a solemn address broadcast live on state television.
After he spoke, Millions of anti-Morsi protesters in central Cairo’s Tahrir Square erupted into wild cheering, setting off fireworks and waving flags. Cars drove around the capital honking their horns in celebration.
The Muslim Brotherhood president, in office for just a year, was at a Republican Guard barracks surrounded by barbed wire, barriers and troops, but it was not clear whether he was under arrest. The state newspaper Al-Ahram said the military had told Morsi at 7 p.m. (1700 GMT) that he was no longer head of state.
“TERRORISTS AND FOOLS”
Military chiefs, vowing to restore order in a country racked by protests over Morsi’s Islamist policies, earlier issued a call to battle in a statement headlined “The Final Hours”. They said they were willing to shed blood against “terrorists and fools”.
Armored vehicles took up position outside the state broadcasting headquarters on the Nile River bank, where soldiers patrolled the corridors and non-essential staff were sent home.
In another show of force, several hundred soldiers with armored vehicles staged a parade near the presidential palace, and security sources said Morsi and the entire senior leadership of his Muslim Brotherhood were banned from leaving the country.
Security sources told Reuters the authorities had sent a list of at least 40 leading members of the Brotherhood to airport police.
U.S. oil prices rose to a 14-month high above $100 a barrel partly on fears that unrest in Egypt could destabilize the Middle East and lead to supply disruption.
The massive anti-Morsi protests showed that the Brotherhood had not only alienated liberals and secularists by seeking to entrench Islamic rule, notably in a new constitution, but had also angered millions of Egyptians with economic mismanagement.
Tourism and investment have dried up, inflation is rampant and fuel supplies are running short, with power cuts lengthening in the summer heat and motorists spending hours fuelling cars.
Liberal opponents said a rambling late-night television address by Morsi showed he had “lost his mind”.
The country’s two main religious leaders, the head of the Al-Azhar Islamic institute and the Coptic Pope, both expressed their support for the army’s roadmap in speeches after Sisi