Terrorists...being terrorized! Who says the ME isn't fun?!
Egypt’s powerful armed forces gave Islamist President Mohammed Morsi until tomorrow to end the chaos tearing the country apart, after a new wave of violence killed at least eight people.
Hundreds of demonstrators at Cairo’s Tahrir Square erupted in cheers yesterday after the military delivered a 48-hour ultimatum on state TV.
“We want a new armed-forces council to govern until new elections,” said accountant Mohamed Ibrahim, 50. “The army alone supports the legitimate revolutionary will of the people.”
Before the surprise announcement, protesters who toppled Hosni Mubarak two years ago said that if Morsi didn’t quit today, they would march on the presidential palace.
But Morsi refused to step down and members of his Muslim Brotherhood vowed to defend themselves after an overnight attack left their Cairo headquarters in flames.
“The people have toppled the regime,” anti-Morsi activists shouted after they attacked the building with Molotov cocktails.
The military stopped short of saying it would use force against Morsi, but said the army would impose its own “roadmap” for the country if he didn’t act by tomorrow.
Morsi’s supporters were outraged by the military statement.
“The age of military coups is over,” said Yasser Hamza of the Muslim Brotherhood’s parliamentary wing.
Five anti-Morsi government ministers quit yesterday to protest the heavy-handed government treatment of demonstrators.
Late yesterday, Egyptian security forces arrested 15 armed bodyguards of the Muslim Brotherhood’s No. 2 leader, Khairat El-Shater, after an exchange of gunfire, security sources said.
After the destruction of its offices, the Brotherhood, which operated underground until the overthrow of Mubarak in 2011, said it was considering how best to defend itself.
Sunday’s mass rallies were bigger than anything seen since the Arab Spring uprising. Smaller crowds returned to Tahrir Square and other gathering points yesterday afternoon.
Eight people died in a night of fighting around the Brotherhood headquarters, where guards fired on youths hurling rocks and fire bombs. A Brotherhood official said two of its members were hurt. Another eight people were killed and 731 injured in clashes around the country on Sunday, the Health Ministry said.
The Brotherhood’s official spokesman told Reuters that the attack had crossed a red line of violence and that they were considering a revival of the “self-defense committees” formed during the 2011 uprising.