“For the sake of Egypt and for historical accuracy, let’s call what is happening by its real name: Military coup.” This was a Facebook status update by Essam al Haddad who is the Egyptian president’s advisor on issues of national security. As of Wednesday, the presidency no longer has access to official methods of communicating with Egyptian citizens after President Mohammed Morsi was removed from power by military forces.
Egyptians took to the streets with banners, flags and images of Mohammed Morsi. Those who gathered in Tahir Square supported the move to oust the president. In other parts of the city including Cairo University supporters of Mohammed Morsi pleaded that one year was not enough for any man to fix the problems of any country. Morsi was democratically elected as the president of Egypt one year ago.
On Wednesday evening, a newspaper that is state-owned issued a statement on its website letting site visitors know that Mohammed Morsi was not the president of Egypt anymore. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court, Adli Mansour, will take over as president until religious leaders can divulge their plans for the political future of Egypt. The leader of the opposition, Mohamed ElBaradei, will be influential in these planning stages.
Airport authorities have been notified about an order that prevents Mohammed Morsi, Mohammed Badie and Khairat al Shater from travelling outside of Egypt. Mohammed Badie is the chief of the Muslim Brotherhood and Khairat Al Shater is his deputy. Over and above the travel ban, the military has started closely monitoring the news that comes out of state newsrooms. This is why Essam al Haddad could only provide updates using social media networks. No presidential statements are allowed.
Morsi had refused to step down and called on Egyptians to help him protect the democratic structures that Egyptians voted for a year ago. He relied on elected leaders to bring about peace and stability. There were altercations between the military and those who still believe that the coup was undemocratic. Media reports put the number of fatalities at around 50 since the protests started. The army denied any attacks on Morsi supporters and insisted that the military forces have been ordered to secure the area.
Scenes like this are not uncommon in Egypt as well as many countries in Africa. Democracy is a concept that many countries seem content to put on paper until the time comes to actually practice the ways of democracy. Riots, protests and strikes scare investors away but ousting a democratically elected president can have disastrous effects.