News / Middle East

    Morsi Faces Down Egyptian Military As Deadline Looms

    Henry Ridgwell
    Huge numbers of Egyptians demonstrated into the night, some backing elected President Mohamed Morsi and others pressing him to resign, even as the military prepares to step in.

    President Morsi met Tuesday with the nation's top military official for a second time in two days while supporters massed in Cairo's Nasr City district in a show of solidarity.  Opposition demonstrators thronged the city's Tahrir Square.  

    Egypt's military has given Morsi until Wednesday to resolve differences with the country's opposition groups, warning if he fails it will present its own roadmap for Egypt's future.  Parts of that plan leaked to Egypt's state-run news agency and other media indicate military officials are prepared to suspend the constitution, dissolve the legislature and set up an interim administration.

    Morsi has said he will not give in to the military's ultimatum.  Members of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood have told media they are prepared to stand in front of tanks and martyr themselves to prevent what they see as a coup attempt against an elected leader.

    Above Tahrir Square, the military helicopters buzzing Cairo elicit cheers from the crowds below.  The protests are swelling; the opposition emboldened by the military's ultimatum that President Morsi reaches a power-sharing deal.

    Among them, protester Mohamed Shaaban. He said Dr. Morsi can suggest anything to the people in the square - but it's the people of the square who are doing the talking.

    All eyes are on the army's next move, said Maha Azzam of policy institute Chatham House, who spoke to VOA on the phone from Egypt. "What we're seeing is the upper echelons of the military attempting to dictate the political process in Egypt. They don't want to be at the forefront of politics, but they are ultimately directing the political road map," Azzam explained. "And that is unacceptable in a democracy."

    President Morsi has rejected the military's demand. In a statement Tuesday he said he would not let the clock be turned back on civilian rule.

    Watch aerial footage of protesters in Tahrir Square:

    Watch related video of anti-Morsi protesters in Tahrir Squarei
    X
    July 02, 2013 4:04 PM
    Opposition groups calling for Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi's resignation gather again in Cairo's Tahrir Square as Morsi meets with the nation's top military official.

    The Muslim Brotherhood has called for the president's supporters to take to the streets to "express their refusal of any coup."

    "The polarization that is happening in Egypt today is greater than we've ever seen before. And the consequences of unseating a freely elected president are going to be absolutely chaotic in terms of the interests of the Egyptian people as a whole and the future of democracy in the region at large," said Azzam.

    The protesters feel this is a second revolution, said Emily Dyer of analyst group The Henry Jackson Society. "Many people feel that the demands that they had in the first revolution in January 2011, which was to put it simply 'bread, freedom and social justice,' have not been met," he noted.

    • A protester, opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, holds up Egypt's flag during a protest demanding that Morsi resign at Tahrir Square in Cairo, July 2, 2013.
    • Supporters hold posters of Egypt's Islamist President Mohamed Morsi during a rally near Cairo University Square in Giza, July 2, 2013.
    • Opponents of Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi guard the entrances of the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, July 2, 2013.
    • Supporters of Egypt's Islamist President Mohamed Morsi hold sticks and wear protective gear outside of the Rabia el-Adawiya mosque near the presidential palace, in Cairo, Tuesday, July 2, 2013.
    • A vendor sells flags and anti-Morsi signs during protest demanding that Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi resign at Tahrir Square in Cairo, July 2, 2013.
    • An military helicopter flies over an opponent of President Mohamed Morsi as he waves a national flag in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, July 2, 2013.

    But Dyer said the opposition has failed to offer a cohesive alternative.

    "No opposition parties within the National Salvation Front, which is the umbrella opposition movement, have yet put forward a clear alternative policy plan, whether that would be dealing with the economic problems that Egypt is currently facing, the problem that a third of their budget is spent on subsidies," said Dyer.

    Britain and Germany echoed U.S. President Obama's concerns over the crisis Tuesday and urged a peaceful resolution. Rupert Colville is spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.

    "It's really important that the government and opposition get together and discuss how they can move forward. Egypt's democracy is obviously very fragile and nobody wants to see it collapse or fall apart in some way," said Colville.

    Analysts said Egypt is now entering the unknown - and the military will likely decide the fate of President Morsi in the coming days.

    You May Like

    New EU Asylum Rules Could Boost Rightists

    New regulations will seek to correct EU failures in dealing with migrant crisis, most notably inability to get member states to absorb a total of 160,000 refugees

    More Political Turmoil Likely in Iraq as Iran Waits in the Wings

    Analysts warn that Tehran, even though it may not be engineering the Sadrist protests in Baghdad, is seeking to leverage its influence on its neighbor

    Goodbye Ketchup, Hello Sriracha!

    How immigrants are triggering a great transformation in American cuisine

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
    July 03, 2013 1:16 AM
    I think neither any religous group nor millitary power should take administrations. Egyptian legislation must have denied any political activities for religeous groups since the last revolution. Millitary power must have been set under the control of president.

    The main reason why Morsi is being eroded by Muslim and millitary power seems owing to the estrangement from general people who are struggling bad economy. What has made Egyptian economy so worse?
    In Response

    by: ashi from: sapporo
    July 03, 2013 9:26 AM
    If people do not support the president, what allows him to be the position?

    by: ali baba from: new york
    July 02, 2013 2:59 PM
    Egypt want Hosni Mubarak back to power..Muslim brotherhood is a Egyptian night mare .religious fanatic is the source of evil. Egypt want secular Gov. religious fanatic has their place in mental institution

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    July 02, 2013 12:35 PM
    Democracy at a tipping point. The people have made their demand clear: Morsi is not the man to lead Egypt’s democracy. He is biased and has vested interest in islamization of the country. This runs counter to his election promises. What Egypt wants now is a man democratic both in mind and action, not one who says a thing and means another like Morsi and his muslim brotherhood. Morsi goes to meet the army. He sees that the army has the overwhelming support of the people and he wants to tap into it.

    The army may need not to be told that Morsi will sack them immediately he survives this latest pressure from the people. If that happens, Morsi will have succeeded in intimidating the whole country to subjugation under muslim brotherhood of Hamas. And there is nothing that will change Morsi’s doggedly planted feet into islamification of Egypt having taking his cue from both Iran and Saudi Arabia. This is the only opportunity for the people to achieve what they want – Morsi’s autocracy or another election. Maybe the people demonstrating in Tahrir Square can change their mind and lend their support to Morsi once again to continue to marginalize the Coptics, the liberals and minority peoples of Egypt.
    In Response

    by: JD92618 from: Newport Beach, USA
    July 02, 2013 4:09 PM
    You're right. Democracy is at a tipping point. But with all due respect, it seems like you're in favor of throwing democracy out the window. I don't like Morsi, but wasn't he democratically elected? Part of a functional democracy is putting up with with elected officials who you are quite convinced will destroy your country. We got through Bush...two times. And for the other half of my country, they'll get through Obama....two times.

    You'll survive Morsi. I'd think twice before implying that you're a fan of democracy, but not THIS democracy. Also, it's hard to vote the military out of office.

    Best of luck. The entire world would love to see a peaceful, prosperous Egypt.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Rulingi
    X
    May 03, 2016 5:16 PM
    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora