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ISLAMISTS FEAR CLAMP

People celebrate Mursi's removal.

Egypt swears in interim leader, Mursi held

Cairo, July 4, 2013

The head of Egypt's Constitutional Court, Adli Mansour, was sworn in as interim president on Thursday, a day after the army ousted Mohamed Mursi as head of state.
 
Speaking at the Constitutional Court in Cairo, Mansour said he planned to hold new elections, but did not specify when.
 
He said Egypt had "corrected the path of its glorious revolution" through mass street protests calling for Mursi's resignation, which ultimately sealed his fate. 
 
Mursi and several leaders of his Muslim Brotherhood movement were being held at various locations by security services, after the leader defied calls to resign but was ultimately unable to forestall an ultimatum from the generals to cede power.
 
Meanwhile, Egyptian prosecutor's office has ordered  the arrest of the Muslim Brotherhood's top leader, Mohamed Badie, and his deputy, Khairat el-Shater, judicial and army sources said.
 
Shater, a wealthy businessman seen as the Brotherhood's top political strategist, was the group's first choice candidate to run in last year's presidential election. But he was disqualified from the race due to past convictions, forcing Mursi to take his place. 
 
Thursday's newspapers greeted Mursi's overthrow as a triumph for Egyptians, even though the Brotherhood won several elections last year.
 
"Victory for the legitimacy of the people," declared the Al-Gomhuria state newspaper in its banner headline, printed over a photograph of hundreds of thousands of people crammed into Tahrir Square in Cairo, the focal point of anti-Mursi protests.
 
The UN, the US and other world powers did not condemn Mursi's removal as a military coup. To do so might trigger sanctions.
 
Army intervention was backed by millions of Egyptians, including liberal leaders and religious figures who expect new elections under a revised set of rules.
 
But as calm returned to the streets of Cairo and other cities, Islamists feared a clampdown that revived memories of their sufferings under the old, military-backed regime led by Hosni Mubarak, himself toppled by a popular uprising in 2011.
 
At least 14 people were killed and hundreds wounded in street clashes. Television stations sympathetic to Mursi were taken off air.
 
The fall of Egypt's first elected leader after the Arab uprisings of 2011 raised questions about the future of political Islam, which only lately seemed triumphant. Deeply divided, Egypt's 84 million people find themselves again a focus of concern in a region traumatised by the civil war in Syria.
 
Straddling the Suez Canal and Israel's biggest neighbour, Egypt's stability is important for many powers.
 
The army put combat troops and tanks on the streets around a gathering of hundreds of Mursi supporters in Cairo. The military promised to keep order and Mursi said there should be no violence.
 
COUNTDOWN
 
The clock started ticking for Mursi when millions took to the streets on Sunday to demand he resign. They accused his Brotherhood of hijacking the revolution, entrenching its power and - critically for many - failing to revive the economy.
 
That gave armed forces chief General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, who already had his own reservations about the state of the nation under Mursi, a justification to invoke the "will of the people" and demand the president share power or step aside.
 
The United States and other Western allies had also pressed Mursi hard to open his administration to a broader mix of ideas.
 
Sisi said: "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."
 
Reflecting the hopes of the "revolutionary youth" who led the charge against Mubarak, only to see the electoral machine of the Brotherhood dominate the new democracy, the young man who proved Mursi's extraordinary nemesis said the new transitional period must not repeat the mistakes of the recent past.
 
"We want to build Egypt with everyone and for everyone," said Mahmoud Badr, a 28-year-old journalist who first had the idea two months ago for a petition calling on Mursi to resign. By last weekend, the "Tamarud - Rebel!" movement was claiming 22 million backers, many of whom were on the streets on Sunday. - Reuters
 



Tags: Egypt | Alexandria | Mursi |

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