One year after Egypt embarked on its experiment with democracy, its first democratically elected president, Mohammad Morsi, is being held under arrest at a military intelligence office tonight, as the military assumes leadership of the country. The constitution has been suspended.
In the past few months, millions of Egyptians have taken to the streets of Cairo calling for the resignation of President Morsi-- protests greatly reminiscent of those a year ago in Tahir square, calling for democracy and the end of Hosni Mubarak’s three-decade long reign.
Two days ago, Army Chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi levied a 48-hour ultimatum at the President with great popular backing: resolve the public’s demands or the military will intervene. Yet Morsi and the other members of the Muslim Brotherhood, remained adamantly in office.
True to their word, the military rounded up a dozen top Muslim Brotherhood brass, censored three television stations, and fought off Islamist protesters. 15 were killed in clashes around the country. Morsi was brought under arrest.
At the end of the brief struggle, Chief General al-Sisi appeared before the nation in a televised addressed earlier this evening. He announced Adly Mansour, the nation’s top judicial authority as of just three days ago, as the interim head of state. Though al-Sisi promised democratic elections will resume, he did not give a timetable. He added that the constitution has been suspended only temporarily.
Cairo has erupted in a cacophony of cries, with pro and anti-Morsi demonstrators flocking the streets -- forces of jubilation meeting those of despair. Democratic hopefuls in Egypt can only hope al-Sisi is as true to the promises in his televised address as he was true to his ultimatum.