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President Morsi overthrown in Egypt

Morsi reportedly being held with top aides at a military facility after army suspends constitution.

Last Modified: 04 Jul 2013 07:23
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Anti-Morsi protestors celebrate overthrown of the president on the streets [AFP]

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.

According to a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi is being held in a military facility with top aides.

"Morsi and the entire presidential team are under house arrest in the Presidential Republican Guards Club," Gehad El-Haddad, the son of a top Morsi aide, told AFP news agency on Thursday. Haddad's father, Essam El-Haddad, widely seen as Morsi's right-hand man, was among those held, he added.

The head of Egypt's armed forces issued a declaration on Wednesday evening suspending the constitution and appointing the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court, Adly Mansour, as interim head of state.

Mansour would be sworn in on Thursday.

Morsi's presidential Facebook page quoted him as saying he rejected the army statement as a military coup.

The ousted leader was believed to be at a Republican Guard barracks in Cairo but it was not clear whether he was under arrest.

In a televised broadcast, flanked by military leaders, religious authorities and political figures, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi effectively declared the removal of  Morsi.

Early elections

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.

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!"

Violent clashes

At least 14 people were killed when opponents and supporters of Morsi clashed after the army announced his removal,  officials said. Eight of those died in the northern city of Marsa Matrouh, including two members of the security fources.

Three people were killed and at least 50 wounded in Alexandria, state news agency MENA reported; a woman stabbed in the stomach, and two men killed by birdshot.

Three people were also killed and 14 wounded in the southern city of Minya, including two police, MENA said.

Dozens more were wounded in Fayoum, south of Cairo, where unidentified assailants looted the local offices of the Freedom and Justice Party, the Brotherhood's political wing, MENA said.

In Cairo's Tahrir Square, the security forces looked on as tens of thousands of anti-Morsi protesters rallied in a demonstration that dwarfed that of Morsi supporters in Nasr City, on the opposite side of town.

'Revolution re-launched'

Speaking shortly after Sisi's announcement, liberal opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei said the "2011 revolution was re-launched" and that the roadmap meets the demand of the protesters.

Egypt's leading Muslim and Christian clerics also backed the army-sponsored roadmap.

Army Roadmap:
  • Suspending the constitution
  • Constitutional court to declare early presidential elections
  • Chief Justice has presidential powers until elections
  • A technocrat, national government will be formed
  • Securing and guaranteeing freedom of expression
  • All necessary measures will be taken to empower youth
  • Army appeals to Egyptians to steer away from violence

Pope Tawadros, the head of the Coptic Church, 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.

Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected president, came under huge pressure in the run-up to Sunday's anniversary of his maiden year in office, with his opponents accusing him of failing the 2011 revolution by concentrating power in Islamist hands.

The embattled 62-year-old proposed a "consensus government" as a way out of the crisis. That was not enough for the army, and Mansour, a previously little known judge, was installed as the country's interim leader.

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