The next wave of the Egyptian revolution: Egypt army ultimatum deadline passes as hundreds of thousands take to Cairo streets
July 3, 2013
The military ultimatum given to President Mohamed Morsi has passed, as hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets. Morsi previously rejected the deadline, which gave him 48 hours to meet the demands of the people before facing army intervention.
According to some reports, Morsi has until 5pm local time to either form a coalition government or face the prospect of a coup.
The meeting between Commander-In-Chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces, Abdul Fatah Khalil Al-Sisi, and political forces is still ongoing, Al Arabiya reports. The most important issue being discussed is reportedly that of sending reassuring messages to the Brotherhood’s leaders.
The two sides seem unwilling to budge, with protesters stating that Morsi and his Brotherhood party are pushing an Islamist agenda on Egypt.
The Brotherhood, on the other hand, says the army’s actions amount to a coup and says that its members are ready to become martyrs to defend the president.
“There is only one thing we can do: we will stand in between the tanks and the president," Gehad El-Haddad, the MB official spokesman, told Reuters on Wednesday.
“We will not allow the will of the Egyptian people to be bullied again by the military machine.”
Morsi believes it would be better to die “standing like a tree,” defending the electoral legitimacy of his office, than to go down in history as having destroyed Egyptians’ hopes for democracy, presidential spokesperson Ayman Ali said, as quoted by Reuters.
Army sources had previously said the army would issue a statement after the deadline expires at about 5 p.m. (1500 GMT) but no time has yet been set for official statements, according to the Facebook page of Egyptian military spokesman Col. Ahmad Muhammad Ali.
At least 39 people have died since anti-Morsi protests began on Sunday. A night of deadly clashes in Cairo on Tuesday night claimed the lives of 23 people, most of whom died in a single incident near Cairo University.
"This is the second wave of the Egyptian Revolution," said Hani Shukrallah, speaking at the Socialism 2013 conference in Chicago. Shukrallah is one of Egypt’s most respected journalists, who was forced out as editor of the English-language website Ahram Online under pressure from the Muslim Brotherhood.
IN TERMS of sheer numbers, we have not seen this before. This was not just massive numbers in the major cities. It spread out this time into the provincial cities, many of them for the first time. This is especially true in upper Egypt in the South—many of these areas had stayed out of the 2011 revolution and the subsequent protests. Today, everybody’s out in stunning numbers.
We’re talking about millions of people. And they will not go home. They will be there until Morsi resigns.
There’s one story from the protest where reality almost becomes poetic: A pregnant woman and her husband go to Tahrir Square, and she gives birth at dawn on June 30 in a field hospital, and they decide to call the baby Tamarod, or Rebellion. I don’t know how they’ll bring her up with that name, of course—it may be quite a tough time.
Right now, the state and the ruling class are very deeply divided and fractured. So we had demonstrations of police officers in uniform, with their handguns on their side, saying, “Down with Morsi and down with the Muslim Brotherhood”. These are unprecedented scenes—very, very weird.
One message from a friend of mine said that one of the major Internet service providers is providing free wifi access around the presidential palace. She wrote that the capitalists are helping us against the Muslim Brotherhood so that they can screw us later—but that we should use it, so we can screw them later.
When I was up late last night, I was getting the early morning posts of people on the Internet before they went out for the demonstrations. And there was this amazing sense of joy—people saying things like “Good morning revolution.” And at the same time, you had people starting statements with “If I don’t come back…” It was the two things together: joyful, but they knew they were going into something that they might not come back from.
One post on Facebook went like this: Today, for the next 24 hours, there will be the final viewing of the body of the Muslim Brotherhood, deceased at 85 years of age; burial to take place tomorrow. There was that kind of sense of fun—and that’s an aspect of the Egyptian Revolution all along. There was always this humor—sometimes very bitter, sometimes very sharp, sometimes just hilarious.
In Mahalla, an important industrial city in northern Egypt, workers were coming out of the factories and heading out to marches. In 2011, we didn’t see much of that. We saw a lot of strikes in the last week of the revolution, which tilted the balance of forces quite markedly—there were something like 200 strikes within that week. But this time, we have seen marches coming out of the factories and heading toward squares or toward city halls, and occupying them.
In Mahalla, a trade union organizer was talking to Ahram Online, and he told them that not a single Muslim Brotherhood member dares to show his face in Mahalla. And he said that by this afternoon, there would be 1 million workers in the street.