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Egypt's Military Gives Morsi 48 Hours To Answer Protesters, Morsi Refuses

Jeremy Fuster |
July 1, 2013 | 5:44 p.m. PDT

Executive Producer


Protests against Mohamed Morsi continue. (Bora S. Kamel/Creative Commons)
Protests against Mohamed Morsi continue. (Bora S. Kamel/Creative Commons)
UPDATE: President Mohammed Morsi rejected the military ultimatum, the BBC reported.



Egypt's top military officials presented President Mohammed Morsi with an ultimatum Monday, saying it would intervene in the next two days if he and his political party, the Muslim Brotherhood, cannot resolve the political and economic turmoil that has plagued the nation for several months.


Gen. Abdel Fattah Sisi, Egypt's defense minister and armed forces chief, read the statement on national television after hundreds of thousands of Egyptians started protests across the nation on Sunday, which was the first anniversary of Morsi's inauguration.  Protesters attacked the Muslim Brotherhood's offices in Cairo and Alexandria over the weekend, killing sixteen, according to The New York Times.

"The armed forces is warning that if the demands of the people are not fulfilled. . .(it) will announce a future road map and procedures that it will supervise,” Gen. Sisi said in his statement. 

"Wasting more time will only achieve more division and conflict…The armed forces repeats the invitation to fulfill the demands of the people and gives everyone 48 hours as a last chance to begin bearing the burdens of this historic circumstance.”

The main protest group, a youth organization called Rebel, has promised to start a nationwide campaign of "complete civil disobedience" if Morsi does not resign by 5 p.m. Tuesday. Rebel claims to have collectioned 22 million petition signatures calling for Morsi to step down and asked “state institutions, including the army, police and judiciary, to clearly side with the popular will.”

SEE ALSO | Deadly Violence Erupts In Egypt

Opponents of Morsi say that the president has become too extremist and taken advantage of the push for democracy that was made two years ago during the Arab Spring protests. He has been criticized for nationwide gas shortages and a rapidly failing economy. Supporters argue that Morsi has not been given enough time to fix Egypt's problems and that forcing him to step down would discredit the elections held last year.

Shortly after the military's announcement, Morsi and Gen. Sisi met with Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil, according to CNN. It is not yet known what was discussed.

President Barack Obama, who is currently in Tanzania as part of a tour of Africa, urged both sides of the conflict to show restraint and avoided questions about whether he felt Morsi should step down. Obama avoided similar questions two years ago when Cairo protesters demanded the resignation of then-President Hosni Mubarak. 

“[Morsi should] reach out to the opposition and work through these issues in a political process," Obama said to reporters on Monday. "It’s not the U.S. job to determine what that process is. But what we have said is, ‘Go through processes that are legitimate and observe rule of law.’”

Obama also criticized the violent protesters in Egypt, alluding to reports of sexual assaults at the protests and saying "“Assaulting women does not qualify as peaceful protest.” A 21-year-old American English teacher was also killed during the attack on the Muslim Brotherhood's offices in Alexandria. 


Reach Executive Producer Jeremy Fuster here or follow him on Twitter.



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