On Wednesday, Egyptian Defence Minister Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi said in a televised address to the nation that the armed forces deposed President Mohamed Morsi and suspended the constitution. He added that a panel would review and amend the constitution in accordance with the people’s demands. He said that Adly Mahmud Mansour, the head of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court, would be the interim head of state during a transition period until there’s an early presidential election. A RIA-Novosti correspondent reported that millions of Egyptians took to the streets across the country welcoming the armed forces’ statement. Al Jazeera reported that Mansour would be sworn in on Thursday.
The Qatar-based broadcaster reported that Islamist supporters of deposed President Moḥamed Morsi Isa al-Ayyat gathered in a Cairo suburb, reacting angrily to the army’s announcement, with some of them breaking up paving stones and forming piles of rocks. Egyptian news portal Ahram Online said, “Ex-President Mohamed Morsi issued a statement on his official Facebook page saying the Wednesday military announcement amounts to a coup. The procedures announced by the general command of the armed forces represents a full coup d’état that’s completely unacceptable”.
Earlier on Wednesday, Muslim Brotherhood leader Morsi proposed forming a coalition government to pave the way to parliamentary elections in a bid to end the current standoff. The presidential office said that Morsi also proposed setting up an independent commission to introduce amendments to the country’s constitution, saying in a Facebook statement, “The presidency envisions the formation of a consensus coalition government to oversee the next parliamentary election”. Morsi’s statement came as the deadline passed Wednesday afternoon on the army’s ultimatum asking him to meet the people’s demands and put an end to huge protests against his rule or face a military takeover.
The move to oust the president followed four days of mass demonstrations against Morsi across Egypt starting Sunday. On Sunday, the first anniversary of his presidency, millions of protesters gathered across the country demanding Morsi’s ouster. Hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered outside the presidential palace in Cairo and in Tahrir Square, the focus of the 2011 revolution and the key venue of many opposition rallies. Reportedly, since Sunday, clashes between Morsi supporters and opponents killed dozens and injured hundreds more. Al Jazeera said that many believe that the overthrown leader is holed up at a Republican Guard barracks in the capital Cairo, surrounded by barbed wire, barriers, and troops. It was unclear if he was under arrest. The AP reported that the US Department of State ordered nonessential American diplomats and the families of all US Embassy personnel to leave Egypt.
4 July 2013