Hundreds of thousands of Egyptian demonstrators gather outside the presidential palace in Cairo during a protest calling for the ouster of President Mohammed Mursi on 30 June 2013. (Photo: AFP - Mahmud Khaled)

Jul. 1, 2013 (TSR) – The Egyptian Tamarrod (disobedience) movement, which had collected more than 22 million signatures, has set a deadline for President Mohamed Morsi to cede power, following the latest spate of deadly violence in mass anti-government protests nationwide.

The opposition urged the president to resign, saying in a Monday statement that “we give Mohamed Morsi until 5:00 p.m. (1500 GMT) on Tuesday July 2 to leave power, allowing state institutions to prepare for early presidential elections” and if Morsi does not step down until the deadline, the protesters will begin “a complete civil disobedience campaign.”
The opposition also urged that “state institutions including the army, the police and the judiciary to clearly side with the popular will as represented by the crowds” on Sunday.
However, the Egyptian presidency said Sunday that dialogue is the only option to get the country out of the current political crisis.
The movement rejected presidential calls for dialogue, saying, “There is no alternative other than the peaceful end of power of the Muslim Brotherhood and its representative, Mohamed Morsi.”
Cairo and other Egyptian cities witnessed major demonstrations for and against President Morsi on Sunday. Reports say seven people died and hundreds more were wounded in the anti-government rallies.
Meanwhile, Egypt’s armed forces warned on Monday that it will intervene if the people’s demands are not met within 48 hours, after millions took to the streets to demand the resignation of Islamist President Mohammed Mursi.In a statement read out on state television, the armed forces reiterated its “call that the demands of the people be met and gives (all parties) 48 hours, as a last chance, to take responsibility for the historic circumstances the country is going through.””If the demands of the people are not met in this period… (the armed forces) will announce a future road map and measures to oversee its implementation,” in a statement implying that Morsi should either step down or at least call early elections.On June 23, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, defense minister and armed forces chief, warned that the military would intervene to prevent unrest in the country. The army had given all parties one week to reconcile their differences.

“This week, there has been no sign of gestures or acts,” the army said.

“Wasting more time will lead only to more division… which we have warned and continue to warn against,” the army said.

He added that the army’s future roadmap would be carried out ” with participation of all honest parties and national forces, particularly the youth, without isolation of any party.”

“The national security of the country is in danger,” the defense minister said, adding the armed forces would not give up its national and historic role.

Also, Mahmoud Badr, spokesperson of the Tamarod campaign, said at a televised news conference that “the statement of the armed forces supported the will of the Egyptian people at this moment, which means an early presidential election.”

Spokesperson of the Muslim Brotherhood, Jihad Al-Hadad, said the road-map mentioned in the army statement doesn’t mean to push the president for an early election.

The Muslim Brotherhood, on whose platform Morsi won Egypt’s first freely contested presidential election in June last year, said it was “studying” the army’s statement.

Senior Brotherhood leader Mahmud Ghozlan told AFP that the group’s political bureau would meet later to decide its position.

Following the army speech, former army chief of staff Sami Annan announced resignation as a member of the president consultative panel. The recently appointed governor of Ismailia, affiliated to the MB, has also resigned.

Tens of thousands of jubilant protesters poured into the streets of Cairo, Alexandria and other large cities after the statement was broadcast. Raucous cheers rang out across main squares.

For his part, U.S. President Barack Obama said Monday, “There is a possibility for more violence in Egypt,” encouraging all parties to exercise self-control.

“Decisions over aids for Egypt rely on applying the rule of law, and the government has to listen to the opposition, not tending to violence,” Obama added.

The massive protests, the biggest protests compared to the 2011 revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak,on Sunday came on the first anniversary of Morsi’s inauguration as president.

The anti-Morsi protesters took to Tahrir Square and the vicinity of the presidential palace in Cairo, as well as several squares in other governorates, while supporters of Morsi continued their sit-in for the fourth consecutive day at Rabia al-Adawiya Square in Cairo’s Nasr City “to defend legitimacy” of the first freely-elected president.

In a televised address on June 26, Morsi said the polarization of the country’s political life is “threatening to paralyze” Egypt.

On June 27, Egypt’s main opposition coalition, the National Salvation Front (NSF), rejected the president’s offer.

Earlier Monday, five Egyptian ministers of tourism, environment, communication, legal and parliamentary affairs, and drinking water and sanitation headed to the cabinet to tender their resignations, over the clashes between the pro-and anti-president protesters.

Also, five members of the Shura Council (the upper house of the parliament) have offered resignations and denounced Morsi’s speech on Wednesday ahead of the protests, arguing it failed to present any solution to the crisis in Egypt.

Morsi’s supporters, however, say the president is cleansing Egyptian institutions of corruption but needs time to realize the ideals of the revolution.



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