Mass protests in Tahrir square in Egypt, reminiscent of images seen at the height of the Arab Spring protests in January 2011, ultimately climaxed today when the head of Egypt’s armed forces issued a declaration today suspending the constitution and appointing the Chief Justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court as interim head of state.
President Mohammed Morsi rejected an army ultimatum to reach a deal with anti-government protesters, after four days of mass unrest.
In a televised broadcast today, General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi suspended the constitution and announced the formation of a technocratic interim government ahead of new presidential elections.
According to reports, the interim leader is 68-year-old Adly Mansour who very recently became chief of justice on July 1. As one of the three longest-serving deputies, Mansour was appointed to the head of the constitutional court on June 11 by former President Morsi.
After the military announcement, Muslim Brother Spokesman Gehad El-Haddad tweeted: “And #Egypt enters another military coup cycle. Will the ppl of #Egypt take it, AGAIN!!”
Live video broadcasting from Tahrir Square showed a very jubilant, cheering crowd, on the other hand.
“The statement read out by General al-Sisi was exactly what people in Tahrir wanted to hear. This was the ultimate goal of their campaign to oust President Morsi, but of course he still has plenty of supporters,” said BBC News reporter Ben Brown from Cairo.
Protestors have been disappointed by the lack of change since Morsi was democratically elected president about a year ago and felt the Brotherhood prioritised religion before economic reform and creating much needed jobs.
Mohammed Morsi’s presidential Facebook page quotes Morsi saying he rejects the army statement as a ‘military coup’. However, he also called on Egyptians to “avoid bloodshed.”