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Breaking News: Egyptian President sacked by military

July 3, 2013

Reports say Egyptian President, Mohammed Morsy has been sacked by the country’s military.

The army, which has entered the presidential palace as well as state TV buildings in Cairo to monitor content in the station’s newsroom, has been accused of a military coup.

Soldiers were said to be blocking any presidential statements from going out, forcing Mr Morsi’s aides to use Facebook to communicate with the divided country.

Army movements were also reported elsewhere in the city, with armoured vehicles and troops including commandos deployed on strategic bridges and near protest sites, including Cairo University where supporters of the president gathered.

Barbed wire and barriers were erected by soldiers around the barracks where the president was said to be working.

Crowds in the main square celebrate as the army deadline passes
“For the sake of Egypt and for historical accuracy, let’s call what is happening by its real name: Military coup,” Essam al Haddad, the president’s national security adviser, said in a statement on Facebook.

Sky’s foreign affairs editor Tim Marshall, in Cairo’s Tahrir Square where tens of thousands of anti-government have returned, said: “The pieces are in place for a coup. The army has put tanks on the outskirts of the city, it’s positioned people.

“I think we are going to get some dramatic developments this evening.

“Whether it is a bona fide coup, or whether the Muslim Brotherhood are upping the anti to make sure their supporters come down in large numbers … because if there is a coup, their supporters will react badly to this.”

Pro-Morsi protesters shout slogans during a demonstration
Sky’s Middle East correspondent Sam Kiley, outside Cairo University where supporters of the president have gathered, added: “The military have moved at least have a dozen armoured personnel carriers supported by about two companies of troops, on one side of the university. On the other side there are a number of riot police.

“At the moment there is a tense standoff between supporters of President Morsi and the military, with his supporters building barricades, but also standing on the military side of the barricades trying to show a level of solidarity.”

The army said in an official statement that it was securing the area and denied what it said were reports that it was attacking Mr Morsi’s supporters, saying: “The Egyptian army belongs to all Egyptians.”

Mr Morsi has refused to step down, saying he will protect his democratic “legitimacy” with his life.

A protester sits in front of anti-Morsi artwork on a Cairo building
As crisis talks involving military chiefs, political and religious leaders continued, Mr Morsi offered a coalition government as part of a solution to the standoff, but no new compromises.

As the army deadline passed, he warned his elected leadership was the only safeguard against violence and instability – and that it was a mistake for the military to “take sides”.

The crisis meetings followed reports in the state-run media that Mr Morsi would either step down or be removed from office when a political road map for the future of the country was drawn up by the military.

The Al-Ahram newspaper said the plan would establish a three-member presidential council to be chaired by the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court, although the claims were rejected by an Egyptian military source.

Members of the Muslim Brotherhood ride on a truck through Cairo
In a 45-minute televised address to the nation on Tuesday, Mr Morsi said he had been voted for in a free and fair election and it was his job to “safeguard the revolution” that put him in office.

He called for calm and said Egyptians should not attack the army, police or each other. He said he was attempting to get the army to return to its normal duties and withdraw its ultimatum.

The armed forces, which took control of the country after the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak in 2011, have intensified their presence in Egypt’s cities in recent days.

The Foreign Office has warned against all but essential travel to most of Egypt and said any Britons in the country should consider “whether they have a pressing need to remain”.

The United States said it was “very concerned” about developments in Egypt and urged President Morsi to “do more” to address the concerns of protesters.

“We do remain very concerned about what we are seeing on the ground in Egypt,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. “We feel there was an absence of significant steps laid out by President Morsi,” she added.

Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.

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