Friday, 5 July 2013

Egypt Military Coup Ousts President Morsi


The Egyptian army has announced fresh presidential and parliamentary elections after ousting elected Islamist leader Mohamed Morsi from power.

In a televised address to the divided nation, commander of the armed forces, General Abdul Fatah Khalil al Sisi, said Mr Morsi had "failed to meet the demands of the Egyptian people" and would be replaced.

Flanked by military officials, Muslim and Christian clerics and political figures, he unveiled details of a political transition which had been agreed with them.

As the military coup got under way with the deployment of tanks and troops including commandos across the capital Cairo, he declared a review and temporary suspension of the Egyptian constitution and the appointment of Adli Mansour, the head of the supreme constitutional court, as interim head of state.

The acting leader will be assisted by an interim council and a technocratic government until new presidential and parliamentary elections are held, he said. No specific details were given when the new polls would take place.

The military chief also announced a national reconciliation committee that would include youth movements - and warned the armed forces and police would deal "decisively" with any violence.

It followed the end of crisis talks after an army deadline for Mr Morsi to yield to mass nationwide demonstrations expired and he refused to step down.

"Those in the meeting have agreed on a road map 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," he said.

Fireworks burst over Cairo's Tahrir's Square where tens of thousands of jubilant anti-Morsi and Muslim Brotherhood protesters erupted into cheers on hearing the news which was hailed as "a victory for the people".

"The people and the army are one hand," they shouted, dancing and waving flags amid the roar of chanting and car horns, and coloured confetti in the air.

One uniformed police officer waved his hands above his head and said: "Great Egypt is victorious. Egypt is victorious over the Brotherhood."

The Muslim Brotherhood's TV station was taken off air and its managers arrested hours after its leader was overthrown.

The Egypt25 channel had been broadcasting live coverage of rallies by tens of thousands of pro-Mursi demonstrators in Cairo and around the country, with speeches by leading Brotherhood politicians denouncing the military intervention to oust the elected president.

Mr Morsi, who was said to have been moved to an undisclosed location, was told he was no longer in charge of the country at around 7pm (6pm UK time).

In a statement on his official Facebook page, he was quoted as rejecting the army's announcement as a "full military coup".

Democratically elected to office just over a year ago after the toppling of autocrat Hosni Mubarak as Arab Spring uprisings took hold in early 2011, Mr Morsi had spent the day working at a Republican Guard barracks where barbed wire and barriers were erected by soldiers.

Egyptian security forces earlier revealed orders banning Mr Morsi, Muslim Brotherhood chief Mohammed Badie and his deputy Khairat al Shater from travelling abroad had been issued to airport officials.

Troops had also taken up positions in the presidential palace as well as state TV buildings in Cairo, blocking any presidential statements from going out.

Sky's foreign affairs editor Tim Marshall, reporting from Cairo, said it was going to be "a difficult night" in the Egyptian capital.

"If elections are held in a few weeks, perhaps those who are so against coup d'etat and its anti-democratic sentiments can see it as part of a transitional period.

"These people will come back onto the streets in a few months time if the army tries to hang on to power, but I think the army knows that and so the elections will come within months, perhaps weeks

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