Egypt Army gives 48-hour ultimatum to Mursi, 16 dead in clashes
Zee Media Bureau
Cairo: Egypt`s President Mohammed Mursi has been given ultimatum by the country`s powerful Army that it will intervene if people`s demands were not met within 48 hours.
Millions took to the streets demanding the resignation of beleaguered President Mohamed Mursi on Monday, as at least 16 people were killed in clashes across the country.
"The armed forces reiterates its call that the demands of the people be met," a televised statement from the armed forces said, giving political parties a 48-hour period "as a last chance to bear the historical burden that the nation is currently facing."
The statement gave a 48-hour ultimatum to political parties to "fulfil the people`s demands," otherwise the armed forces would present a political "roadmap" for the country that would include all political currents.
Earlier in the day, an anti-Mursi youth activist group named Tamarod, Arabic for "Rebel", that has led the humongous protesting crowds to Tahrir square, issued an ultimatum saying that Mursi must quit by Tuesday and allow elections to be held.
Also the statement issued by the Army said, "The Egyptian Armed Forces have set a deadline, which ended yesterday, for all political powers to reconcile and end the current crisis, but no progress has been made. Consequently, the Egyptian people have taken to the streets."
"The Egyptian Armed Forces will not become involved in politics or administration; it is satisfied with its role as is spelt out in line with democratic norms," it said, stressing that Egyptian national security was in "great danger".
It also referred to the armed forces` "responsibility" to step in if national security was threatened.
Army`s statement was greeted with joy by thousands of protesters, who have been demanding 61-year-old Musri`s resignation.
"Come down Sissi, Morsi is not my president," the protesters chanted, calling on the country`s army chief, Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, to intervene.
Earlier, anti-government protesters also stormed the national headquarters of Muslim Brotherhood here. They also ransacked the six-storey building and set it on fire.
State media quoting the country`s Health and Population Ministry said the nationwide death toll from June 30 protests stands at 16, with the total number of injuries estimated at 743 in 17 governorates.
In the capital here, thousands of people massed at the iconic Tahrir Square - the epicentre of pro-democracy protests in 2011 - under the banner of Tamarod (Rebellion) movement which is driving the campaign with a petition of signatures seeking Mursi`s ouster and a snap election.
"We give Mohamed Mursi until 5:00 pm (1500 GMT) on Tuesday July 2 to leave power, allowing state institutions to prepare for early presidential elections," Tamarod said in a statement on its website.
The statement warned that Morsi would face a campaign of civil disobedience if he did not leave power by tomorrow.
Meanwhile, four ministers resigned from the Cabinet today in protest against perceived mishandling of the current political stand-off in the country by Morsi`s government, state news agency MENA reported.
Minister of State for Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Hatem Begato, Minister of Communications Atef Helmy, Minister of Environment Khaled Fahmy and Tourism Minister Hesham Zazou all resigned, reports said.
Opposition activists claim more than 22 million people in the nation of 84 million have signed the petition and have urged the signatories to come out in Tahrir Square.
Eight people were killed in clashes between opponents and supporters of Morsi here, while three people died in the Assiut province.
One each died in the provinces of Fayoum, Beni Sueif and Kafr el-Sheikh. One protester died during a rally outside the presidential palace and another died in Alexandria, the ministry said.
Thousands of ordinary Egyptians - angered by Mursi`s policies - also took part in the rallies, described as the biggest protest in the history of Egypt.
The crowds seen in the Tahrir Square were the biggest since the 2011 revolution that ousted long time ruler Hosni Mubarak.
With PTI inputs
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