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Egypt's Military Lays Down Ultimatum As Unrest Spreads

NPR | July 1, 2013 5:51 p.m.

Contributed By:

Krishnadev Calamur

An Egyptian protester looks at the damaged Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, on Monday. Protesters stormed and ransacked the headquarters early Monday, in an attack that could spark more violence as demonstrators gear up for a second day of mass rallies aimed at forcing the Islamist leader from power.

An Egyptian protester looks at the damaged Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, on Monday. Protesters stormed and ransacked the headquarters early Monday, in an attack that could spark more violence as demonstrators gear up for a second day of mass rallies aimed at forcing the Islamist leader from power.

Khalil Hamra, AP

A Muslim Brotherhood office was ransacked in Cairo and parts of it set on fire, and four Cabinet ministers reportedly resigned Monday in a second day of massive protests in Egypt against the government of President Mohammed Morsi.

Al Jazeera, citing a senior official, said the four ministers were the tourism minister, communication and IT minister, the minister for legal and parliamentary affairs, and the environment minister.

As we reported Sunday, millions of protests demanded that Morsi resign. Their demand came on the first anniversary of his government’s rule. The demonstrators have given Morsi until 5 p.m. Tuesday to resign. They have vowed a campaign of civil disobedience if he doesn’t go. Morsi insists he will not step down.

“If we changed someone in office who [was elected] according to constitutional legitimacy – well, there will be people opposing the new president too, and a week or a month later they will ask him to step down,” he told the Guardian newspaper.

Presidential spokesman Omar Amer said at a Sunday news conference that Mosri “made mistakes and he … is in the process of fixing these mistakes.”

Morsi’s supporters in the Muslim Brotherhood have also staged their own gatherings, showing their support for the president. Al Jazeera reports that “they are full of praise for his first year in office, insisting that the president has strengthened civilian rule in Egypt and done his best to manage a failing economy.” But the protesters, who have united under the name Tamarod - Arabic for rebellion – say the economy has gotten worse since Morsi took office.

Protesters on Monday stormed the national headquarters of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo. Parts of it were set on fire.

The toll from the violence since Sunday is 16. Nearly 800 people have been injured. The BBC reports:

“On Monday morning, the protesters stormed the headquarters and began throwing objects out of broken windows. One protester was seen removing parts of the signage, while another waved an Egyptian flag from a window. Later, people began walking out carrying office equipment. …

“Many protesters accuse the president of putting the Brotherhood’s interests ahead of the country’s as a whole.

“Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad criticised the security forces for failing to protect the building and warned that the movement was considering action to defend itself.”

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