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Army imposes deadline to end Egypt crisis

By Agencies in Cairo | China Daily | Updated: 2013-07-02 08:07

Army imposes deadline to end Egypt crisis

An Egyptian woman chants slogans, as protesters ransack the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in the Muqattam district in Cairo on Monday. Khalil Hamra / Associated Press


The Egyptian army on Monday set 48 hours as a deadline for all parties to resolve the crisis before imposing a military-supervised roadmap for the future of Egypt, the defense minister said in an audio speech aired on state TV.

"The Armed Force will not be part of politics or rule," Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi stressed.

The defense minister said that the 48-hour deadline represents "the last chance" for all the parties to meet the demands of the people and resolve the crisis, referring to the current circumstances as "historical".

"Wasting more time will lead to more division and conflict," Sisi warned, noting that the people have already been suffering a lot over the ongoing political crisis.

Meanwhile, Egypt's opposition on Monday gave Mohammed Morsi a day to quit or face civil disobedience after deadly protests demanded the country's first democratically elected president step down after just a year in office.

"We give Mohammed Morsi until 5 pm (local time) on Tuesday, July 2, to leave power, allowing state institutions to prepare for early presidential elections," the Tamarod movement said in a statement on its website.

Otherwise, "Tuesday, 5 pm will be the beginning of a complete civil disobedience campaign".

Earlier on Sunday, a leading opposition figure said Egypt's army should intervene if Morsi refuses to step down.

"The armed forces must act, because they have always been on the side of the people", who have expressed their will, said Hamdeen Sabahi, who came in third in the 2012 presidential election, running as a left-wing nationalist candidate.

"The Egyptians trust the armed forces," and their chief, General Sisi has said he would respect the will of the people.

"The people are wondering where the armed forces are, and are waiting for General Sisi to keep his word," Sabahi added.

The best outcome would be if Morsi went of his own accord, Sabbahi said, otherwise, "he will have to be forced to bend to the popular will".

In a separate development, the headquarters of Egypt's ruling Muslim Brotherhood was overrun by youths who ransacked the building after those inside were evacuated on Monday following a night of violence in which at least eight people were killed.

By far the bloodiest incident of Sunday's mammoth and mostly peaceful protests against the Morsi, it began after dark and continued for hours, with guards inside firing on youths hurling fire bombs and rocks.

A spokesman for the Brotherhood blamed the violence on "thugs" and said it would demand answers from police who failed to protect it. He said two of those inside were injured - by fires - before a security detail from the movement was able to evacuate all those inside the compound mid-morning.

The violence will likely add to a sense among Brotherhood members, long oppressed under Mubarak, that they face a political siege since being elected last year, which they blame on liberal opponents and loyalists of the former government.

Images of the four-story suburban building, its walls scorched, windows smashed and looters making off with office furniture, recalled those of the destruction of the state security headquarters when Mubarak was toppled in 2011.

The Brotherhood had fortified the compound's walls in the run-up to the protests. The building was also attacked earlier this year in protests against Morsi.

Xinhua-AF- Reuters


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