News / Middle East

    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.

    • A supporter of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi chants slogans during a rally near Cairo University after Friday prayers in Cairo, Egypt, July 5, 2013. 
    • Opponents of Egypt's ousted president Mohammed Morsi wave national flags and posters showing Lt. Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in Tahrir Square, Cairo, July 5, 2013. 
    • Palestinian Hamas security guard stands near an Egyptian watch tower on the border with Egypt in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, July 5, 2013. An Egyptian official said the country's border crossing with Gaza Strip in northern Sinai has been closed indefinitely.
    • Protesters, who support former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, perform Friday prayers near Cairo University in Cairo, July 5, 2013. 
    • A supporter of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi holds up a copy of the Koran as she and others march near Cairo University after Friday prayers in Cairo, July 5, 2013. 
    • A supporter of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi cries during a protest near the University of Cairo, Giza, July 5, 2013.
    • Adly Mansour gestures at his swearing in ceremony as the nation's interim president in Cairo, July 4, 2013.
    • This image made from Egyptian State Television shows Egypt's interim president Adly Mansour, center, standing with judges during a swearing in ceremony at the constitutional court in Cairo, July 4, 2013.
    • Supporters of Egypt's ousted president Mohammed Morsi show victory signs during a rally, in Nasser City, Cairo, July 4, 2013.
    • An Egyptian Army commander talks to citizens while securing the area near Cairo University, where Muslim Brotherhood supporters gathered to support ousted president Mohammed Morsi in Cairo, July 4, 2013.
    • Egyptians celebrate after Egypt's chief justice Adly Mansour is sworn in as the nation's interim president, July 4, 2013. Arabic reads, " bye bye Morsi."
    • Egyptian military jets fly over Cairo as the head of Egypt's constitutional court Adly Mansour was sworn in as interim head of state, July 4, 2013.
    • Opponents of Egypt's ousted president Mohamed Morsi celebrate outside the presidential palace in Cairo, July 3, 2013.
    • Fireworks light the sky moments after Egypt's military chief said the president was being replaced by the chief justice of the constitutional court, Cairo, July 3, 2013.
    • Morsi supporters react after the Egyptian army's statement was read out on state TV, at the Raba El-Adwyia mosque square in Cairo, July 3, 2013.

    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.



    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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