Morsi ousted by army, constitution suspended

Cairo, July 4: Egypt's powerful military on Wednesday night ousted country's first democratically elected President Mohammed Morsi and suspended the constitution after the 48-hour army deadline for him to meet people's demands expired.

Egyptian army commander General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in a televised statement to the nation said President Morsi is replaced by chief justice of constitutional court, a year after he was elected.

Egypt army suspended the constitution and announced early presidential elections. Millions of protesters nationwide who were demanding Morsi's ouster cheered the move by the army.

Al-Sisi said the military was fulfilling its "historic responsibility" to protect the country by ousting Morsi.

Morsi failed to meet demands to share power with opponents who thronged the streets of Cairo, and those crowds erupted as the announcement was made.

Ahead of the statement, troops moved into key positions around the capital and surrounded a demonstration by Morsi's supporters in a Cairo suburb.

Citing an unnamed presidential source, the state-run newspaper Al-Ahram reported that "the General Command of the Armed Forces told President Morsi around 7 pm (local time) that he is no longer a president for the republic."

Also, a Morsi aide said the 61-year-old Egyptian leader has been moved to an undisclosed location.

Media reports had earlier said that the beleaguered President was under house arrest but military sources denied such claims.

Airport officials said a travel ban has been issued against Morsi. They said that ban on Morsi has to do with his escape from prison with more than 30 other Muslim Brotherhood members during the 2011 uprising against Hosni Mubarak.

Also banned from travel was Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie, his deputy Khairat el-Shater.

"For the sake of Egypt and for historical accuracy, let's call what is happening by its real name: Military coup," Essam al-Haddad, Morsi's national security adviser, said in a statement posted on Facebook earlier, warning of "considerable bloodshed".

"As I write these lines I am fully aware that these may be the last lines I get to post on this page," Haddad said.

The Egyptian military moved into key sites in Cairo hours after its ultimatum passed for Morsi to resolve the political crisis.

"The presidency envisions the formation of a consensus coalition government to oversee the next parliamentary election," the President's office said in a statement earlier posted on Facebook.

Morsi, in an effort to arrive at consensus, had reaffirmed his call for a national dialogue and the formation of a panel to amend the country's controversial Islamist-drafted constitution. He had insisted on continuing as the President.

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