Protesting seems to be the thing to do in Egypt, ever since its historical success in the Arab Spring uprising of 2011. Yet this time it’s not clear whether we have something healthy like democratic protest, or a full-out military coup going on. Egypt’s army had set their tanks and troops aside the presidential palace in Cairo on Wednesday, and even staged military parades to intimidate the Islamic President Mohamed Mursi, expecting him to meet a deadline. However, he failed to come to terms with the many anti-Mursi protesters. These political, religious, and youth agitators dislike his Islamist-tinged constitution and among other complaints say he has alienated liberals and secularists with his Islamic rule, and that further his economic mismanagement is bad for Egypt.
So naturally enough, let’s get rid of him, they figure. But he wants to frame the situation clearly, “For the sake of Egypt and for historical accuracy, let’s call what is happening by its real name: military coup,” said Mursi’s national security adviser Essam El-Haddad in a statement, as reported by Reuters. The statement also warned of “considerable bloodshed” in the future.
Mursi’s view of himself is of a tragic hero. “It is better for a president, who would otherwise be returning Egypt to the days of dictatorship, from which God and the will of the people has saved us, to die standing like a tree,” said spokesman Ayman Ali, “Rather than be condemned by history and future generations for throwing away the hopes of Egyptians for establishing a democratic life.”
The Muslim Brotherhood, Mursi’s staunch supporters, expressed loyalty to the president. “There is only one thing we can do: we will stand in between the tanks and the president,” as Gehad El-Haddad told Reuters. Indeed, 16 people were killed and 200 wounded when pro-Mursi demonstrators were fired upon at Cairo University, apparently by police. If that is a democratic protest, then indeed, let’s have the opposite.
Finally, Egypt’s Military ousted the president, replacing him with the chief justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court, and calling for an early presidential election while suspending the Islamist constitution Mursi had set in place.