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Egypt's President Ousted; Military Names Interim Head of State


Lt. Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, center, flanked by military and civilian leaders addresses the nation on Egyptian state television, July 3, 2013.

Lt. Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, center, flanked by military and civilian leaders addresses the nation on Egyptian state television, July 3, 2013.

Egypt's powerful military has ousted the country's first democratically elected civilian leader, President Mohamed Morsi. Thousands of anti-Morsi protesters cheered upon hearing the news.

Hundreds of thousands of people burst into cheers and beeped their horns in Cairo as the military announced on national television that President Mohamed Morsi was no longer the leader of the country.

The military ouster of Morsi came after days of demonstrations against the president, who protesters said had lost his legitimacy by failing to effectively unite and lead the nation.

Cairo university student Mahmoud el Zomer said he was not surprised that Morsi was forced out.

"I was expecting the ouster, because the situation in Egypt was so chaotic that they [the army] took charge, and just at the right time. It was expected and that he is happy, really glad it happened," said el Zomer.

But not everyone was pleased. Supporters of Morsi, mainly the conservative Muslim Brotherhood, were furious that their leader had been overthrown. Morsi was elected president in June 2012.

But Army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said the military could no longer stand by as unrest and violent protests filled the streets of Egypt.

Speaking on national television, Sisi called for national reconciliation as he suspended the constitution and announced early elections.

“Based on our national and historical responsibility, we are convening with all national and political figures, youth, without excluding anyone, to agree on a future direction that includes steps to achieve a strong and coherent Egyptian society that does not exclude any of its people, its movements, and put an end to this state of divisions and conflict," said Sisi.


Chief Justice Adli Mansour has been named the interim president.

Moving to contain the weeklong protests and violence that claimed the lives of almost 40 people, the military placed vehicles around the demonstrations prior to the announcement.

Morsi came to power promising Egypt that he would solve corruption and unemployment, clean up the garbage clogging Cairo, and make the country secure. But he was seen by many as becoming more autocratic and less democratic - something that many people here were just not willing to accept.

It was not clear where Morsi was Wednesday evening, but he issued a statement on Twitter describing the military action as a coup d'etat and urging all Egyptians to reject it.


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    Sharon Behn

    Sharon Behn is a foreign correspondent working out of Voice of America’s headquarters in Washington D.C  Her current beat focuses on political, security and humanitarian developments in Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Follow Sharon on Twitter and on Facebook.

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