Thousands of supporters of Muslim Brotherhood presidential candidate Mohammed Morsi (portrait) gather in Cairo’s landmark Tahrir Square. AFP photo
Egypt’s ruling military warned June 22 that it would deal “firmly” with any attempt to harm the public interest as thousands of people packed Cairo’s Tahrir Square accusing it of a power grab.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) also delivered veiled criticism of the Muslim Brotherhood, charging that efforts were afoot to pre-empt the outcome of a hard-fought presidential election. But it insisted that it remained neutral in the deeply polarizing election run-off.
“Protecting the status of state institutions is a national responsibility for all. Any attack on them threatens the stability and national security of Egypt,” said a SCAF statement read on state television, Agence France-Presse reported. “Any attempts to harm public or private interests will be confronted with utmost firmness and strength by the police and armed forces within the law.” The statement was issued as thousands of people gathered in Tahrir Square to denounce what they said was a power grab by the army before the delayed announcement by the electoral commission of the official results of the June 16-17 run-off. The Brotherhood had claimed victory just hours after the close of polls, but its subsequent release of provisional results given to both candidates by returning officers drew criticism from the SCAF.
“The early release of the presidential election results was unjustified and is one of the main reasons for divisions and tensions in the political arena,” the military said.Winner Morsi: Turkish PM
The winner of the Egyptian presidential elections is the Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi, but I’m concerned at the political chaos, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
said June 21. “The winner is Morsi, but there is a great effort to not hand over power to him. The ruling military council is making hurried plans to change the constitution. We have talked about this issue with U.S. President Obama and agree that there shouldn’t be any intervention in the political process,” Erdoğan said while in Rio de Janeiro at an international summit.