BREAKING NEWS: 3:00 EDT Egypt’s military is now announcing that they have told Morsi he is no longer president.
One year after the inauguration of Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi, millions of Egyptians marched through the streets of cities across the country, calling for his resignation. In Cairo, well over a million Egyptians converged on Tahrir Square to demand Morsi’s resignation.
Morsi showed no signs of backing down, but the military put increasing pressure on him and just prior to General al-Sisi’s announcement, most of the recent reports indicated that the military was gaining control of what was being called a military coup.
On July 1, General Abdel al-Sisi delivered an ultimatum to President Mohamed Morsi that his government had 48 hours “to respond to the people’s demands” or the armed forces would impose its “own roadmap of the future”. He went further, saying that the Egyptian military did not want to resume the role it played in the run up to the presidential elections, in which it presided over the political process. Now the 48 hours is over and Morsi has refused to step down. And the military has announced that Morsi is out.
Tarhrir Square, which was the site of the first ‘Arab Spring’ demonstrations which led to the fall of Hosni Mubarak, and the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and Mohammed Morsi, has once again become the symbolic center of the opposition to the sitting government and at the news of the coup, the square erupted in exhilaration, fireworks, and chanting. Millions of Egyptians are in the streets in Egypt and celebrating the fall of another Egyptian leader.
The demonstrations have been far from peaceful. Those supporting Morsi’s Islamist government, have been roaming the crowds, attacking the opposition. Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Wednesday that the mobs sexually assaulted “and in some cases raped at least 91 women” in Tahrir Square alone. Several women required surgery following attacks on them. According to al Jazeera HRW reported that some were “beaten with metal chains, sticks, and chairs, and attacked with knives”.
Stories related to this coup will be continuing to come out over the coming days and weeks to come. Mohammed El Baradai, a Nobel peace laureate and former head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog, who opposed Morsi’s move towards Islamist policy, announced that “the Revolution of 2011 has just been relaunched”.
There was good reason for the coup. Since Morsi became President, the economy got worse, street violence, particularly against women, grew without any effort on the part of the government to stop it, and the imposition of a growing body of Shriah law became increasingly oppressive.
The news surrounding the coup will continue to develop as Egypt reorganizes its government, and GerardDirect will be following it closely. This is only the beginning of the next chapter. Even as this is being written, the two opposing camps who were demonstrating on the street in such huge numbers, are approaching each other on the streets. In Cairo, where their respective demonstrations were about a half mile away from each other, they are now only blocks apart. Peaceful demonstrations may only be temporary, and a rocky future is a likely outcome in the coming months.
What remains to be seen is how the military will move forward with new elections and whether the Egyptian people will get the democratic government they wanted or will they elect another non-democratic government under the Muslim Brotherhood, whose powerful organization made the last election a foregone conclusion.