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ALL SET FOR COUP in Egypt

By News Express on 03/07/2013

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As the clock ticks for the embattled Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, here, courtesy ahram.org.,  are live updates. News Express will continue to keep you posted.

20:20 Egypt’s military spokesman Ahmed Ali has said on his official Facebook page that the meeting between the army’s commander-in-chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and the religious and national groups has ended. A statement revealing meeting’s outcome will be coming within the hour.

20:15 Fireworks are lighting up the sky in the streets near to Ittihadiya presidential palace, reports Ahram Online’s Bel Trew.

“People are singing and dancing, and some are holding posters of military figures chanting ‘the heroes are here,’ ” adds Trew.

20:10 Mohamed El-Beltagy, deputy head of the Freedom and Justice Party, gave an angry statement to Al Jazeera English from the pro-Morsi rally Rabaa Al-Adawiya Square.

     “This is nothing short of a coup. A coup against legitimacy, against the will of the people, against the ballot box, and the democratically approved constitution. Everyone knows that we have never initiated violence. Our offices and our leaders were attacked; many of our supporters were killed amid silence from army and police.”

El-Beltagy condemned the military’s statement and rejected the army’s interference in the political crisis.

    “These masses [in Rabaa Al-Adawiya Square] are not seeking a confrontation with the army, but they refuse to see the army siding with one faction of the people against another, re-entering the political arena and being part of this division. We will not seek violence but we will not surrender our right to fight attempts of subverting people's will.”

19:50 More on the US: AFP reports that US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke to Egyptian defence minister and head of the armed forces, Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, yesterday. AFP says that:

    "Pentagon press secretary George Little is refusing to release any details about the content of the calls. He says U.S. officials at various levels of government have been very clear that America remains committed to the democratic process in Egypt and hopes the tensions there can be resolved peacefully."

The US State Department press conference is still ongoing. Spokesperson Jen Psaki says that the US is "on the side of the Egyptian people" and that Morsi should call for an end to violence.

19:40 At a press conference, a US State Department spokesperson says that the United States is "very concerned" about the situation in Egypt.

The situation in Egypt remains fluid, and the United States cannot confirm whether a military coup is underway, department spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters.

"We do ... remain very concerned about what we're seeing on the ground," Psaki said.

19:30 The military are not just deploying in Cairo; Ahram Arabic reports 20 armoured vehicles and solider carriers have been deployed in the vicinity of a local mosque in Suez where Morsi's supporters are rallying. A number of military helicopters are hovering over the city and the Suez Canal

In Sinai, Egyptian security forces have been on high alert along the borders since the morning, according to Ahram Arabic.

Security measures have also been tightened up near the tunnels into Gaza and around security installations in the deserted peninsula.

19:24 Ninety-three Egyptian diplomats, some based in the ministry of foreign affairs headquarters in Cairo and some based abroad, have declared a strike, reports state agency MENA. The diplomats object to the “failure of the president to meet the people’s demands.”

The minister of foreign affairs resigned yesterday.

19:20 The pro-Morsi coalition, the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy, will hold a press conference on the latest developments tonight at 10pm in Al-Rabaa Al-Adawiya, according to the Muslim Brotherhood’s Twitter account @Ikhwanweb.

19:10 The official spokesman of the armed forces, Colonel Ahmed Ali, vehemently denies that the troops currently deployed in Cairo have attacked pro-Morsi protesters, who are camping out at Rabaa Al-Adawiya Mosque in Cairo's Nasr City district. He said that some people had claimed that the army had attacked the rally in phonecalls to CNN.

    "Our army is seeking to secure all Egyptians, regardless of their affiliations. We call on local and international media not to spread any inaccurate information that may drive a wedge between the army and the people," he said on his Facebook page.

19:00 At least ten people have been injured in clashes between supporters and opponents to President Morsi in Al-Shohada Square in the Nile delta governorate of Kafr El-Sheikh, reports Ahram Arabic.

The injuries were reportedly caused by bird shot and bladed weapons. The injured have been transferred to local hospitals.

18:55 Military sources have told Ahram Arabic that a large number of military armoured vehicles are now deployed in the vicinity of the Ittihadiya presidential palace, the nearby Rabaa Al-Adawiya Mosque, and the iconic Tahrir Square, where rallies are being staged.

The interior ministry’s Central Security Forces are also stepping up their presence around Tahrir Square and at key state institutions.

18:50 Lots of reports of army deployments around Cairo now. Alastair Beach of UK daily the Independent is tweeting pictures of troops being deployed close to Cairo University in Giza, the site of yesterday's clashes, including along the Nile Bridge connecting Giza and Cairo. There are also now reportedly troops deployed in Tahrir Square and at the Rabaa Al-Adawiya pro-Morsi rally.

18:45 Military sources have told Ahram Online that the meeting being held between the leaders of the armed forces and political, religious and national groups is over and a statement will be released shortly.

18:40 Around a hundred Turkish protesters have gathered in Istanbul to voice their support for Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, reported state-owned news agency MENA.

The protest was reportedly led by the Özgür-Der, a Turkish rights group.

18:35 Protests in the Nile Delta are still going strong, with hundreds of thousands rallying in iconic Thawra Square in the city of Mansoura in Daqahliya, Ahram Arabic reports.

"The people already brought down the regime," protesters chanted. "Mansoura will turn you back into a banned group," went another in reference to the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood was forced to operate underground under former president Hosni Mubarak.

Protesters across the town continue to blockade a number of state institutions, in the fourth consecutive day of their civil disobedience campaign.

18:30 An article on Ahram Arabic website quotes an anonymous source saying that the armed forces have extended their deadline in an effort to reach consensus and prevent further violence. The source explained that military leaders offered to postpone their statement for a few hours in order to cooperate on containing bloodshed and to guarantee the president's safety.

The source denied that Morsi had been arrested or placed on house arrest, contrary to circulating rumours, stating that the Republican Guard is still protecting the president at the Republican Guard headquarters. According to the source, head of the military Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi told President Morsi: "treachery is not part of the doctrine of the armed forces.”

18:20 The military are being deployed to separate the pro-Morsi protesters at Rabaa Al-Adawiya Mosque and the anti-Morsi demonstrators in front of the headquarters of the Ittihadiya presidential guard, reports Ahram Arabic.
 18:15 Egyptian security forces have imposed a travel ban on President Morsi, Muslim Brotherhood chief Mohammed Badie and his deputy Khairat Al-Shater over their involvement in prison escapes in 2011, security officials have told AFP news agency.

18:10 In anticipation of the military's statement, anti-Morsi protesters are crowding Tahrir Square and Ittihadiya presidential palace. Both spaces look full.

There are also hundreds of thousands of Morsi's supporters at Rabaa Al-Adawiya Mosque in Nasr City. Everyone is waiting for the statement.

*Photo courtesy Al-Ahram shows Egyptian Army forces near Rabba Al-Adawiya Mosque, site of pro-Morsi protests.

Source News Express

Posted 03/07/2013 11:55:02 PM

 

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