Latest Update: The military’s 48-hour deadline has passed at 3 p.m. Egypt Time, and the country is awaiting the army’s official televised statement on the political crisis.
Egypt president Mohamed Morsi and opponents are set to collide. The military has threatened to abolish the controversial constitution and the legislature if President Morsi does not address the demands of protesters. They have issued a 48 hour deadline that’s set for 3 p.m. local time.
The military generals summoned political leaders for an emergency meeting on Wednesday, reports David D. Kirkpatrick of the New York Times. Military leaders have said that former United Nations diplomat Mohamed ElBaradei will represent them while negotiating over the country’s political future.
Islamists Seek Martyrdom Rather Than Give Up
However, Islamists have vowed that they wouldn’t bend. Rising tensions between Morsi’s Islamist supporters and the military spurred street violence. Officials reported the death of 18 people and injury to at least 300 in a clash near Cairo University. The area surrounding Cairo University was filled with makeshift barricades, burned cars, smoldering piles of garbage, dead bodies and torn textbooks.
The street violence was similar to what was seen at the military and senior level. On Wednesday, Mr. Morsi delivered an impassioned, angry speech. Soon, the armed forces posted on their military Facebook page, “We swear to God that we will sacrifice even our blood for Egypt and its people, to defend them against any terrorist, radical or fool.” Egypt’s top officer General Abdul Fattah el-Sisi said it was better to die than to see the people of Egypt being threatened or terrorized.
Mr. Morsi continued to reiterate that he was the legitimate leader of the country. He said an attempt to remove him by force would push Egypt into chaos. Of course, he disregarded the number of people who took to streets demanding his immediate resignation. He refused to back off, hinting that his removal would cause more bloodshed and violence.
Egypt’s New Constitution?
Egypt’s military has clearly drawn out a plan to suspend the Islamist constitution, dissolve the legislature, and form an interim administration headed by Egypt’s chief of justice, if Mr. Morsi doesn’t reach a solution before the deadline. Egypt’s army said it doesn’t intend to take power, but its road map showed that the military is ready to change the political structure that evolved after the fall of Hosni Mubarak in 2011, reported the Associated Press.
Meanwhile, Egypt’s police, which is controlled by the Interior Ministry, have been on the sidelines of protests. The police refused to protect the offices of senior Islamist leaders and the Muslim Brotherhood. If the military sticks to its plan, it will be a rocky road to stable democracy.