Following massive protests over the weekend, Egypt’s armed forces have issued an ultimatum to Muslim Brotherhood member and current Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, warning him and other politicians that they have 48 hours to respond to the protests that have included demands for his resignation or they will intervene in what is becoming an increasingly violent political crisis.
The New York Times reports:
In a statement read on state television, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the head of the Egyptian military, said the mass demonstrations that intensified over the weekend, including the storming of the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in Cairo early Monday, reflected an “unprecedented” expression of popular anger at Mr. Morsi and his Islamist backers in the brotherhood during his first year in power.
People listening to the military announcement at a sit-in near the presidential palace broke into cheers. “The army and the people are one hand!” they chanted. Cars, honking horns, started streaming toward the palace. A group of army officers, driving by the sit-in in an old Russian Lada, were greeted warmly, with horns and whistles.
Though there were still demonstrators on Monday morning, the video below captures the Muslim Brotherhood firing live ammunition at protesters (WARNING: Graphic content)
The fiercest confrontation seemed to be at the Brotherhood headquarters where members of the organization who were trapped inside fired bursts of birdshot at the attackers and wounded several of them.
After pelting the almost-empty building for hours with stones, gasoline bombs and fireworks, the attackers doused its logo with kerosene and set it on fire, witnesses said, seeming to throw what appeared to be sandbags used to fortify the windows out onto the street.
It was not immediately clear what became of the Brotherhood members, but shortly before the building was stormed, armored government vehicles were seen in the area, possibly as part of an evacuation team.
Here was the scene over the weekend:
Egypt Independent also reports:
The army 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,” the statement, read out on television, said.
“If the demands of the people are not met in this period…[the army] will announce a future roadmap and measures to oversee its implementation.”
The statement praised Sunday’s protests against the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood and President Mohamed Morsi.
On June 23, Defence Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said that the moral responsibility of the army towards the people compels it to intervene and prevent the country from sliding into a dark tunnel of conflict, internal strife, criminality and treason.
This responsibility demanded the army save Egypt from the possibility of becoming a failed state.
He has also called on all political forces to reach a formula of understanding and genuine reconciliation to protect Egypt and its people.
Mr. Morsi’s administration appeared caught by surprise. “There are protests; this is a reality,” Omar Amer, a spokesman for the president, said at a midnight news conference. “We don’t underestimate the scale of the protests, and we don’t underestimate the scale of the demands.” He said the administration was open to discussing any demands consistent with the Constitution, but he also seemed exasperated, sputtering questions back at the journalists. “Do you have a better idea? Do you have an initiative?” he asked. “Suggest a solution and we’re willing to consider it seriously.”
Some of his supporters gathered at the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters bringing batons, pipes, bats, hard hats or motorcycle helmets and other scraps of metal to use as shields to defend themselves, chanting, “We will sacrifice our lives for our religion. Morsi’s men are everywhere.”
Well in my opinion some of the protestors should have helped them in that sacrifice. Additionally, I’m wondering when Americans are going to take to the streets like this and ultimately when our military is going to step in and deal with an out of control administration that continually and knowingly is breaking the law of the land and yet our Congress is not holding them accountable. Is it about time that the military step in and remove the current occupant and his thugs from the White House and prosecute him for criminal activity against the American people and the U.S. Constitution?
Tim Brown is the Editor of Freedom Outpost and a regular contributor to The D.C. Clothesline.