Top judge Mansour sworn in as Egypt interim president

Top judge Mansour sworn in as Egypt interim president

Top judge Mansour sworn in as Egypt interim president

Tahrir Square reacts as Egypt's armed forces overthrew elected President Mohamed Morsi on July and announced a political transition with the support of a wide range of political, religious and youth leaders. REUTERS photo

Egypt's chief justice Adly Mansour was sworn in as the country's interim president on Thursday, a day after the military ousted Mohamed Morsi following a week of massive protests.
"I swear to preserve the system of the republic, and respect the constitution and law, and guard the people's interests," Mansour said as he took the oath of office at a ceremony in the Supreme Constitutional Court.

The army chief Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said the Constitution had been temporarily suspended and announced the formation of a national reconciliation committee that will include youth movements. Fireworks burst over Tahrir Square and across Cairo as the army unveiled its roadmap.

Morsi was quoted on his presidential Facebook page as saying he rejected the army’s statement as a “military coup.” He also called for the restoration of the Constitution. In an amateur video recording posted later on the Internet, Morsi insisted he remained Egypt's president. "I am the elected president of Egypt," the he said in the video uploaded to YouTube.

"It is now demanded of the people to defend this legitimacy and... for legitimacy to be constitutional," he added in reference to his election a year ago and a constitutional referendum in December.


This image made from video shows Gen.
Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi addressing the nation
on Egyptian State TV, July 3. AP photo 

The statement came after a meeting between military officials and Egypt’s top religious authority, the sheikh of al-Azhar University, Coptic Pope Tawadros II and key opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei. 

All three took the floor separately after al-Sisi finished his announcement broadcasted by state TV. 

The sheikh of al Azhar gave his support to the army’s political roadmap, saying the lesser of two evils had been chosen. The Coptic pope also praised the roadmap as a way of ensuring the security of all Egyptians.

2011 revolution relaunched: ElBaradei

For his part, ElBaradei argued that the 2011 revolution had been relaunched. "The roadmap guarantees the achievement of the basic demand of the Egyptian people – to have early elections during a transitional period during which the constitution is rewritten,” ElBaradei said. 

Salafist al-Nour Party, which came in second during the 2012 parliamentary elections, announced that it agreed with the army’s roadmap to avoid dragging the country into a conflict. 

Hours earlier, tanks rolled through the streets of Cairo as the security forces slapped a travel ban on Morsi amid high tension.

The Egyptian military deployed armored vehicles near Cairo demonstrations by Morsi's supporters. Dozens of armored personnel carriers headed towards Cairo University where thousands of pro-Morsi protesters massed, vowing to defend his legitimacy.

The official MENA news agency, citing a senior military official, said armed carriers were also deployed in the capital's Heliopolis and Nasr City neighborhoods, where other protests were being held.

A top aide of Morsi had warned that a military coup was "underway."

"For the sake of Egypt and for historical accuracy, let's call what is happening by its real name: Military coup," Essam al-Haddad, Morsi's national security adviser, said in a statement on Facebook after the army ultimatum urging the president to meet the people's demands expired.

“No military coup can succeed against popular resistance without considerable bloodshed,” he warned. 

"As I write these lines I am fully aware that these may be the last lines I get to post on this page," he added.

U.S. State Department urges Morsi to be 'responsive' 

The U.S. State Department called on Morsi to be “more responsive” to concerns of Egyptians people, adding that Washington was very concerned about the events in the country.

“All sides need to take steps to talk with each other and lower the level of violence,” State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters.

The situation in Egypt remains fluid, and the United States cannot confirm whether a military coup is underway, Psaki also said.

“A peaceful political resolution is the best option for Egypt,” she added.

Brotherhood supreme leader arrested: Security

Egyptian military police on Thursday arrested Muslim Brotherhood supreme guide Mohammed Badie, a security official told AFP, as authorities rounded up members of the influential group from which ousted president Mohamed Morsi hails.

Badie "was arrested in (the western city of) Marsa Matrouh at the request of the prosecution for inciting the killing of protesters," the official said.

Egyptian security forces also imposed a travel ban on Morsi and several top Islamist allies over their involvement in a prison escape in 2011, security officials said.

Morsi agreed on consensus government

"The presidency envisions the formation of a consensus coalition government to oversee the next parliamentary election," Morsi's office had proposed in a statement on Facebook.

Morsi reiterated his call for a national dialogue and the formation of a panel to amend the country's controversial Islamist-drafted Constitution. But he insisted he would stay on as president.

Morsi rejected the military's ultimatum and insisted he would defend his constitutional legitimacy to the end, raising fears of unrest as supporters and opponents of the Islamist president took to the streets in the thousands.