Mohamed Morsi, the Islamist president of Egypt whose rule sparked protests that had engulfed the country since last Friday, was removed from power on Wednesday by the Egyptian military.
The constitution of Egypt was also suspended. Egypt Army Chief General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi said in a televised speech that Adly Mansour, chief justice of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court, would temporarily assume the presidency until a new election is held.
Morsi’s ouster, which comes shortly after the one-year anniversary of his rise to power on June 30, 2012, marks the second time in less than three years that the president of Egypt has fallen. Hosni Mubarak resigned in February 2011, ceding control to the military following the popular revolt against him.
Unlike Mubarak, Morsi refused to yield to the popular movement against him, and was instead forced out. He said in a speech before being overthrown by the military, “The price of preserving legitimacy is my life. Legitimacy is the only guarantee to preserve the country.” Morsi later tweeted that the military’s actions represented “a full coup, categorically rejected by all the free men of our nation.”
After Morsi had rejected the military’s ultimatum to surrender to public pressure and resign within 48 hours, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, headed by General al-Sisi, posted on Facebook, “We swear to God that we will sacrifice our blood for Egypt and its people against all terrorists, extremists and ignorant [group].”
On Sunday, hundreds of thousands of Egyptians gathered around Cairo’s Tahrir Square to urge Morsi to step down on the one-year anniversary of his election.
“It’s the same politics as Mubarak but we are in a worse situation,” said Sameh al-Masri, one of the organizers on the main stage of Sunday’s protest, Al-Jazeera reported. “Poverty is increasing, inflation is increasing. It’s much worse than Mubarak.”
The protests against Morsi were part of a campaign started last month known as Tamarod, which had gathered more than 22 million signatures on a petition calling for Morsi’s resignation.