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Egypt and Morsi on the Brink

As tanks roll near the palace, fears of violent coup rise

Adam Chandler
July 03, 2013

Update, 3:15 PM Reports are swirling that Morsi has been deposed. Twitter is afire.

Update, 3:01 PM: Report: Egyptian military informs President Morsi that he is no longer president.

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, having defied an ultimatum issued by the Egyptian military to relinquish power after no resolution to the political crisis was reached, is now facing a critical moment as the popular movement builds against him and his supporters in the Muslim Brotherhood. As we mentioned earlier, over the weekend, protests grew across the country as Egyptians expressed their discontent and fits of violence erupted, including the torching of various Muslim Brotherhood installations.

Demonstrators said they were angry about the near total absence of public security, the desperate state of the Egyptian economy and an increase in sectarian tensions. But the common denominator across the country was the conviction that Mr. Morsi had failed to transcend his roots in the Brotherhood, an insular Islamist group officially outlawed under Mr. Mubarak that is now considered Egypt’s most formidable political force. The scale of the protests across the country delivered a sharp rebuke to the group’s claim that its victories in Egypt’s newly open parliamentary and presidential elections gave it a mandate to speak for most Egyptians.

While political leaders meet to discuss a replacement/interim government, reports of tanks nearing the presidential palace animate the very real possibility that violence between the Egyptian military and Morsi’s Islamist base could engulf the country.

For now, the crowds celebrate (17 million in Tahrir Square and growing), the military has cordoned off the presidential palace with barbed wire, and Morsi is said to be pitching an eleventh consensus government offer. We’ll keep you posted as this continues.

Adam Chandler was previously a staff writer at Tablet. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Slate, Esquire, New York, and elsewhere. He tweets @allmychandler.