The Cairo coup: Egypt's leader Mohamed Morsi in custody after being ousted by army

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

General says President’s removal ‘ends Egypt’s state of tension and division’

Cairo

Egypt fell under martial rule as Mohamed Morsi, the Islamist who just a year ago became Egypt’s first democratically elected President, was deposed by his own generals.

Troops and armoured vehicles were deployed around the streets of Cairo as Egypt's commanders, in a dramatic televised statement, announced that the constitution had been suspended. Standing alongside military colleagues, religious leaders and political figures (including representatives of Egypt's hardline Islamist Al Nour party), the head of the armed forces General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi called for fresh presidential elections and declared that the head of the country's Supreme Constitutional Court would be appointed temporary head of state.

"Those in the meeting have agreed on a road-map for the future that includes initial steps to achieve the building of a strong Egyptian society that is cohesive and does not exclude anyone and ends the state of tension and division," he said.

Mr Morsi is being held at a military facility in Cairo today. Meanwhile other Muslim Brotherhood leaders were arrested in a crackdown on the movement that won several elections last year.

Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel laureate and leading liberal figurehead, declared that the military coup had relaunched the 2011 revolution that toppled Hosni Mubarak. But in a statement published on Mr Morsi's official Facebook page, the deposed President said that the military's actions were tantamount to a "full military coup" and were "totally rejected".

The rapid developments were met with an ecstatic reception in Tahrir Square, the crucible of the 2011 revolt. In scenes which bore a remarkable similarity to those which followed the ousting of Mubarak, tens of thousands of protesters inside the square erupted in wild celebration on hearing the news. Drivers weaved through the streets honking their horns while jubilant opposition supporters launched fireworks into the sky.

But across the Nile to the west near Cairo University, where several thousand of Mr Morsi's supporters have been gathering for two days, protesters were left dumbfounded by the announcement. "Hosni Mubarak has returned," said one man, reflecting the belief among some Islamists that the current opposition movement has been swelled or even exploited by elements of the previous regime. At a separate rally in eastern Cairo, Muslim Brotherhood supporters screamed insults about the military. "Sisi is void!" they cried, according to Reuters. "Islam is coming! We will not leave!"

It had been an extraordinary day even by the standards of this country's recent tumultuous history. Egyptians had woken up with the clock ticking down on a 48-hour ultimatum which the military had foisted on Mr Morsi. Reach a deal with your political opponents, they had told him, or face the consequences. The ultimatum was rejected outright by the Brotherhood. In a speech on Tuesday night, Mr Morsi called on his generals to withdraw their threat. Other senior officials issued statements warning about the prospect of an impending coup d'etat.

"We will stand resilient in the face of this military coup in total peacefulness, and will stand by our just position," said Mohamed el-Beltagy, a leading figure from the Brotherhood.

In a telling moment, Essam el-Haddad, the President's national security adviser, had earlier issued a statement on his official Facebook page which appeared to give a glimpse into the siege mentality developing inside the Muslim Brotherhood.

"As I write these lines I am fully aware that these may be the last lines I get to post on this page," he said. "For the sake of Egypt and for historical accuracy, let's call what is happening by its real name: military coup." He raised the spectre of future bloodshed if the military assumed power.

By this afternoon Mr Morsi was still refusing to step down. In an eleventh-hour statement as the deadline approached, he accused the military of "taking only one side" in Egypt's deepening crisis. At 5pm local time the deadline passed. Still there was no word from General Sisi, yet reports soon began to emerge of troop movements around the capital.

At Cairo University scores of soldiers were dispatched to block roads leading up to the demonstration. A line of troops dressed in riot gear was deployed to form a human cordon on Gamaa Bridge, a crossing on the Nile leading towards the university. Several army jeeps filled with more soldiers were parked bumper to bumper along the road behind them.

"There is a full military coup under way in Egypt," tweeted Gehad el-Haddad, a senior Brotherhood official, as armoured cars rumbled through the streets of the Egyptian capital. Elsewhere military vehicles were deployed to Nasr City, the suburb where the Muslim Brotherhood has been staging pro-Morsi rallies since Sunday. There were also reports in the state press that armour and troops had been dispatched to Suez, where Mr Morsi's supporters rallied at a local mosque.

In a further bid to tighten its control on the Muslim Brotherhood – which since Sunday had been trying to face down a full-scale nationwide insurrection against Mr Morsi's rule – the military issued a travel ban on the President and some of his leading lieutenants.

As Mr Morsi's downfall drew near, his enemies across the region could barely contain their glee. The Muslim Brotherhood is one of the most powerful factions behind the Syrian rebels fighting to oust Bashar al-Assad, and Mr Morsi has urged the West to intervene on their behalf. With no little irony, Syria's Information Minister was quoted by the state news agency saying: "Egypt's crisis can be overcome if [Morsi] realises that the overwhelming majority of the Egyptian people reject him and are calling on him to go."

Arts & Entertainment
Madonna in her music video for 'Like A Virgin'
music... and other misheard song lyrics
Sport
Steven Gerrard had to be talked into adopting a deeper role by his manager, Brendan Rodgers
sportThe city’s fight for justice after Hillsborough is embodied in Steven Gerrard, who's poised to lead his club to a remarkable triumph
News
Much of the colleges’ land is off-limits to locals in Cambridge, with tight security
educationAnd has the Cambridge I knew turned its back on me?
News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
The energy drink MosKa was banned for containing a heavy dose of the popular erectile dysfunction Levitra
news
Environment
People are buying increasing numbers of plants such as lavender to aid the insects
environmentGardeners rally round the endangered bumblebee
Sport
Australia's Dylan Tombides competes for the ball with Adal Matar of Kuwait during the AFC U-22 Championship Group C match in January
sportDylan Tombides was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011
Arts & Entertainment
Customers browse through Vinyl Junkies record shop in Berwick Street, Soho, London
musicBest exclusives coming to an independent record shop near you this Record Store Day
News
Ida Beate Loken has been living at the foot of a mountain since May
newsNorwegian gives up home comforts for a cave
Extras
indybest10 best gardening gloves
Arts & Entertainment
tvIt might all be getting a bit much, but this is still the some of the finest TV ever made, says Grace Dent
Arts & Entertainment
Comedian Lenny Henry is calling for more regulation to support ethnic actors on TV
tvActor and comedian leads campaign against 'lack of diversity' in British television
News
Posted at the end of March, this tweeted photo was a week off the end of their Broadway shows
people
News
peopleStar to remain in hospital for up to 27 days to get over allergic reaction
Arts & Entertainment
The Honesty Policy is a group of anonymous Muslims who believe that the community needs a space to express itself without shame or judgement
music
News
Who makes you happy?
happy listSend your nominations now for the Independent on Sunday Happy List
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Apprentice IT Technician

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Sales Associate Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit