Coup in Egypt, Army overthrows President Morsi
The Egyptian army has overthrown President Mohamed Morsi, announcing a roadmap for the country’s political future that will be implemented by a national reconciliation committee.
The head of Egypt’s armed forces issued a declaration on Wednesday evening suspending the constitution and appointing the head of the constitutional court as interim head of state.
In a televised broadcast, flanked by military leaders, religious authorities and political figures, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi effectively declared the removal of Morsi.
Sisi called for presidential and parliamentary elections, a panel to review the constitution and a national reconciliation committee that would include youth movements. He said the roadmap had been agreed by a range of political groups.
Cheers erupted among millions of protesters nationwide who were demanding Morsi be removed.
The ouster follows a chain of events and reports throughout Wednesday. Earlier, Al Hayat TV reported that Morsi was under house arrest. Morsi’s spokesman denied the report, according to ABC News, but word of the house arrest provoked cheers in Tahrir Square.
This came as Egypt’s military moved to tighten its control on key institutions before their afternoon ultimatum expired.
The military stationed officers in the newsroom of state television on the banks of the Nile River in central Cairo. Troops were deployed in news-production areas.
Officers from the army’s media department moved inside the newsroom and were monitoring output, though not yet interfering, staffers said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk about the arrangements.
This move shows the military’s preparation for an almost certain push to remove the country’s Islamist president when an afternoon ultimatum expires.
Earlier Wednesday, Egyptian leaders met with the army chief. This meeting also signaled the military was taking concrete moves toward implementing its plan to replace Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected leader who came to office a year ago.
Morsi is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is standing by him. Late Tuesday, Morsi gave a defiant speech, insisting he is staying in power. He also wants the military to stand down.
Experts watching the situation feel that Morsi lost the trust of the people early on when he and the Muslim Brotherhood took power and made changes to the country’s constitution.
“It is not the economy. It is the quest for freedom and feeling that they have been betrayed and the resenting to replace a dictatorship of Mubarak by a theocracy dictatorship, where it will be the dictator is ruling but garbing himself in religion,” said Dr. Maher Hathout with the Muslim Public Affairs Council.
President Barack Obama, had, minutes before the army announced it was sacking Morsi, urged the ousted President to address the people’s grievances and the White House also warned Egypt’s military that a coup could jeopardize relations with the United States.
The tension in Egypt is having an impact on global markets – especially the oil markets. Oil is now trading above $100 a barrel for the first time in close to a year. Egypt’s Suez Canal is a major transit route for crude shipments from the Persian Gulf.