Egyptian President Morsi overthrown in military coup
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.
Morsi’s presidential Facebook page quoted the deposed president as saying he rejected the army statement as a military coup.
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.
Morsi was believed to be holed up at a Republican Guard barracks in Cairo, surrounded by barbed wire, barriers and troops, but it was not clear whether he was under arrest.
Islamist supporters of Morsi who have gathered in a Cairo suburb reacted angrily to the announcement by the army.
Some broke up paving stones, forming piles of rocks. Muslim Brotherhood security guards in hard hats and holding sticks formed a cordon around the encampment, close to a mosque. Men and women wept and chanted.
Denouncing military chief Sisi, some shouted: “Sisi is void! Islam is coming! We will not leave!”
Speaking shortly after Sisi’s announcement, liberal opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei said the 2011 revolution that ousted Hosni Mubarak was relaunched and that the roadmap meets the demand of the protesters for early presidential elections.
Egypt’s leading Muslim and Christian clerics also backed the army-sponsored roadmap.
Ahmed al-Tayeb, Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar, Cairo’s ancient seat of Muslim learning, and Pope Tawadros, the head of the Coptic Church, both made brief statements following the announcement by the head of the armed forces.
Tawadros said the plan offered a political vision and would ensure security for all Egyptians, about 10 percent of whom are Christian.
Egypt’s second largest Islamist group, the Nour party, said in a statement that it agreed to the army roadmap in order to avoid further conflict.