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Egypts President Morsi detained after military coup


Egypt’s powerful military on Wednesday night ousted country’s first democratically-elected President Mohamed Morsi, suspended the Islamist-backed Constitution and unveiled a roadmap to meet people’s aspirations.

According to reports, Morsi is now being detained at a military facility along with some of his key supporters, even as the defiant President insisted that he remains the country’s legitimate leader. The Egyptian Army has arrested Muslim Brotherhood party leaders. Also, arrest warrants have been issued for 300 members of party, The Telegraph reported.

Earlier security forces had imposed a travel ban on Morsi and other leading figures in the Muslim Brotherhood.

The head of Egypt’s armed forces yesterday ousted Morsi just one year after he was elected as the country’s first democratically-elected president in 2012 after nearly three-decade authoritarian rule of strongman Hosni Mubarak.

Egyptian Army Commander General Abdel Fattah Sisi on state television issued a declaration suspending the Constitution and appointing the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court, Adly Mansour, as interim head of state.

Mansour would be sworn-in today, Al-Ahram online reported.

Sisi called for Presidential and Parliamentary Elections, a panel to review the constitution and a national reconciliation committee. He said the roadmap had been agreed by a range of political groups.

The move came after Islamist leader refused to quit following the end of a 48-hour deadline set by the Army to resolve the political crisis that arose after millions of Egyptian demanding his resignation took to the streets.

Egypt’s iconic Tahrir Square, the hub of the anti-Morsi protesters — erupted into ecstasy as the military announced his outer.

However, a statement on Morsi’s Facebook page denounced the Army move as a “military coup”.

“The procedures announced by the general command of the armed forces represents a full coup d’etat that is completely unacceptable (sic),” the statement said.

In spite of the military’s announcement, Morsi’s statement stressed that he remains the head of state and the supreme commander of the armed forces. Morsi’s statement asked Egyptian citizens – both civilians and military – to “abide by the Constitution and the law and not to respond to this coup”.

The official website of the Muslim Brotherhood, Ikhwan Online, said that the military’s announcement is a “conspiracy against legitimacy, a military coup that wastes popular will and brings Egypt back to despotism”.

Meanwhile, Islamist supporters of Morsi gathered in a Cairo suburb and reacted angrily to the announcement by the Army.

Some broke up paving stones, forming piles of rocks. Muslim Brotherhood security guards in hard hats and holding sticks formed a cordon around the encampment, close to a mosque. Men and women wept and chanted.

Denouncing military chief Sisi, some shouted: “Sisi is void! Islam is coming! We will not leave!”

At least 10 people were killed when opponents and supporters of Morsi clashed after the Army announced of his removal, state media and officials said.

Eight of those reported dead were in the northern city of Marsa Matrouh. Al-Anani Hamouda, a senior provincial security official, said two members of security forces were among those killed in the clashes.

“We are dealing with the situation. … We have called for security reinforcements in the area,” said senior police officer Sherif Abdelhamid.

Dozens more were wounded in Fayoum, south of Cairo, where unidentified assailants broke into the local offices of the Freedom and Justice Party, the Brotherhood’s political wing, MENA news agency said.

The attackers looted the headquarters and set them on fire, it said.

Egyptian Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim ordered the shutdown of three main pro-Morsi channels.

The minister had taken the decision to close all “religious channels,” namely the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Misr 25, the Salfi oriented Al-Nas and Al-Hafez channels.

Expressing concern over the situation in Egypt, US President Barack Obama asked the country’s military to hand over powers to a democratically-elected government as soon as possible.

“We are deeply concerned by the decision of the Egyptian Armed Forces to remove President Morsi and suspend the Egyptian Constitution,” Obama said.

“I now call on the Egyptian military to move quickly and responsibly to return full authority back to a democratically elected civilian government as soon as possible through an inclusive and transparent process, and to avoid any arbitrary arrests of President Morsi and his supporters,” he said.

The grand sheikh of Al-Azhar mosque said that he supported the call for early Presidential Elections based on an Islamic precept that the better of two evils is a religious duty.

Speaking shortly after military’s announcement, liberal opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei said the “2011 revolution was re-launched” and that the roadmap meets the demand of the protesters.

Egypt’s leading Muslim and Christian clerics also backed the Army-sponsored roadmap.

Morsi came under massive pressure in the run-up to Sunday’s anniversary of his maiden year in office, with his opponents accusing him of failing the 2011 revolution by concentrating power in Islamist hands.

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